Last week Swecare welcomed Ms Yanchuan HE, from our partner FESCO Edu, and held an interesting workshop with invited public and private actors regarding a Sweden-China Nurse Development Project and possibilities for collaboration in the area of nurse training and education.
|Ms Li Min from Minnovation, Anna from Swecare and Ms He from FESCO Edu
We started off with a presentation of the impressive company FESCO and its subsidiary FESCO Edu. After the Chinese economy opened in the late 1970s, all international companies had to use the state-owned FESCO (Foreign Employer Services Company) for all administration relating to employment of expats, recruitment of local employees, etc. Today FESCO is a well-established company, which handles HR services for +30,000 clients, both foreign and Chinese, with over 2 million employees. There is a number of subsidiaries, including Edu working with the development of skills and upgrading of the Chinese labor force.
This is done by helping
- Chinese students access education (shorter or longer courses) abroad (B2C)
- Chinese companies have access to shorter education abroad (B2B)
- Recruitment of international teachers for Chinese institutes (B2B)
A 1 million gap of hospital nurses in China in the coming years, and 10 million nurses for nursing homes and similar, according to Ms He. More international care companies establish in China, needing Chinese nurses with international experience, and such nurses are also needed in general to improve the quality of nursing in the country. FESCO Edu cooperates with the Provincial Talents Programs that exist in several provinces, with quite favorable conditions for attracting employees.
The Sweden-China Nurse Development Project now in place has so far seen 20 Chinese nurse students starting a Swedish language course as part of their ordinary university curriculum. It is held online by a Swedish “SFI” teacher of Chinese origin. We heard a short audio clip of one of the students speaking Swedish – and it was not bad after 1.5 months of part-time study!
The idea is that they will achieve level B2 (or at least B1) by May. There will also be an introduction to Swedish healthcare in the spring, delivered by a Swedish nurse teacher, who will also be able to assess their skills by the end of the semester. After certification in China, they will be given the option of coming to Sweden, work as nurse assistants and study for a Swedish nurse certificate (possibly 1 year of studies and preparation), and then work for a number of years as nurses. After this, they will be incentivized to move back to China, and once back they will be attractive on the job market.
Another project is a short-term course in nursing for certified Chinese nurses, e.g. 2 weeks studying + 1 week of on-the-job training. This builds on a similar program developed with Australia. Other possible cooperation concern training of teachers of nursing, and short-term courses for doctors.
We had a general discussion on how to solve the situation of too few nurses and nurse assistants that exists also in Sweden. Is it possible to use a program like this to stave off a crisis in Sweden? Would a Swedish-speaking Chinese nurse be an option? There are already ongoing programs for students with nurse certification from outside the EU, e.g. offered by Sophiahemmet, and some county council have recruited nurses from the Philippines e.g. and there is interest from other county councils as well.
If the nurses can work relatively independently (as nursing assistants) from the start, they will be seen as a resource, but if they need a lot of introduction, it will be difficult especially during the summer months. Their level of Swedish must of course be sufficient.
These were some of the questions that were discussed during the workshop, and more follow-up meeting between the participants and Ms Li and Ms He will surely follow. And if your organization is a caregiver, and you are looking to recruit staff for next summer - then maybe you can consider a Chinese nurse!