Alumnus of the month: don't be afraid of asking questions so that you really understand
Urban Haaga considered studying medicine but eventually chose nursing school - and he has never regretted it.
Why did you choose to study at Karlstad University?
This was before Karlstad University became a university. I was living here in Karlstad and I had recently finished upper secondary school (the health care programme) and was taking supplementary courses in the natural sciences in order to qualify for admission on the undergraduate degree programme in medicine, but I had also applied to study nursing. I was on the waiting list for the medicine programme but chose to start on the nursing programme instead, and I have never regretted this choice.
How was your time at Karlstad University? What do you remember most?
In the early 1980s, the study programme was less academic than it is today and there were only a handful of prominent researchers in the field. To a large extent, the study programme was focused on theoretical medicine, but there was also quite a lot of time devoted to clinical training. We were among the first students who had to conduct a research project as part of our degree programme, and I remember that we had quite a lot of freedom in designing our studies, since our supervisors were rather unused to scientific research methods themselves, at least in terms of their practical application. I received a lot of help from a clinically active gastrointestinal surgeon, Lars Bergman, who had a lot of experience of clinical studies and was able to give me practical advice relating to my work.
What do you work with today?
I’ve been working in cardiology since 1993, and as head nurse in my department since 2010.
In what ways did your studies prepare you for your working life?
It’s been a while now, but I seem to remember that when I first started working, I had a pretty good understanding of medicine but I found it harder to know how to prioritise. There were also things about the organisation and about the working teams I didn’t know – perhaps because I was young, and perhaps because I was so focused on the medical aspect. I remember being incredibly impressed by several of the experienced nurses. One of my colleagues during introduction to surgery was Kerstin Theander, who is now head of CKF.
What is your best advice to today’s students on the nursing programme?
Stay curious and don’t be afraid of asking questions so that you really understand all the issues – not just with your minds, but with your whole bodies. This goes for your time at university, of course, but also for your entire working life.