Health and Healthcare Organizations in a Changing Society

A Travel Report from a Higher Education Course

By Saskia Gubler, Annemiek Uneken and Marleen van Dijk

Management in Healthcare is a BSc program in the Hanze University in Groningen, the Netherlands.  In the first year, students learn to understand the world of care and well-being. During the second semester of this first-year students gain insight into how care was organized in the past, how it’s organized in the present and the dilemmas that this entails. Themes such as the welfare state, healthy aging and the participation society are discussed.

In addition, we take a look into the possible futures of healthcare. Also, students investigate how healthcare is organized abroad. One part of the study program is developed and lectured by honours students. In this part of the program students are linked to patients, their relatives, and direct caregivers. The aim of this part of the course is that students gain insight in the lives of patients, beyond their diagnosis.

This results in a portrait of ‘the person behind the patient’. In addition, students participate in learning workplaces where they practice state-of-the-art communication, and they attend colleges about customer-oriented organization.

From a first experiment with “learning in complexity” (=> see our article “It’s a wicked world”), the following learning questions remained:

  • How do we cope with the paradox between innovating in the system versus systems innovation?

  • How do we translate this paradox into our lessons and the whole curriculum? How do we ‘start with complexity’ with first year bachelor students?

  • How do we facilitate collective learning that goes beyond the classroom setting?

  • How do we offer sufficient guidance when learning in uncertainty, especially for first-year students?