Students with a sustainable attitude

259 medical students from Aalborg University instantly joined emergency preparedness staff in the healthcare system when the Danish society needed help to handle the coronavirus pandemic.

Lagt online: 13.01.2021

Aalborg reacted quickly when the Danish authorities announced that there would be a need to mobilise all resources to handle the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation. Within a few days, medical students at Aalborg University (AAU) laid out a clear plan, in collaboration with the university and Aalborg University Hospital, for how they can be included in health emergency preparedness activities.

71 medical students already on duty - 188 more on the way

‘Aalborg University's distinct learning model means that master's students in our medical programme spend every single day in the hospital or in general practice. With a relatively small extra effort, they will be able to contribute quite significantly in helping in this situation’, says Dean Lars Hvilsted Rasmussen from the Faculty of Medicine at AAU. He further says that it is the close interaction between students and society's real problems that they call 'the Aalborg model'.

Thorough training

‘The teaching began on Monday 16 March and takes place in close collaboration between AAU, Aalborg University Hospital, UCN and the Association of Danish Medical Students (FADL)’, says Chief Physician Sten Rasmussen, who is deputy head of teaching at the Department of Clinical Medicine, AAU:

‘We improve the skills of the medical students to make them completely ready to take care of the patients. The medical students who are far in their medical programme are qualified to take medical vacancies, while others are trained to handle respirators or serve as nursing substitutes’.

Cooperative medical students

‘I have always considered my fellow students to be extremely flexible and adaptable - this is something that PBL (AAU's learning model) is teaching us. In the last 10 days, they have really proved that they are ready to help when the healthcare system needs it. It’s very rewarding to see how much we can accomplish when we do it together’, says Phillip Sperling, who is a master’s student of medicine at Aalborg University and continues:

‘I think it has been important for us that we have had such a good collaboration between all parties, both the university, the hospital and of course us students. When students know that they are represented in important decisions, they also feel that they are part of the overall preparedness’.

A good example to others

There is agreement among the country's four health science deans that mobilising medical students of the four universities in emergency preparedness is the right thing to do in this serious situation. The four Danish health science deans have a close and coordinated collaboration and encourage all regions to involve medical students in the emergency preparedness plan where they will have a decisive effect.

SDG: 3 - Good Health and Well-being, 10 - Reduced inequalities


Strategic Advisor Lone Bechmann, the Faculty of Medicine, Aalborg University, lbec@adm.aau.dk