Friday 30 June 2023 – From the 2023-2024 academic year, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is offering two new postgraduate courses and four micro-credentials in the field of well-being and healthcare. The further education courses allow professionals to broaden and update their existing knowledge and skills, a requirement and an asset on the rapidly changing labour market. By expanding its Lifelong Learning offer, VUB wants to better respond to the needs of society and business, in its role as an urban engaged university.
The new English-language postgrad course “Clinical Anatomy” is directed at healthcare professionals who wish to learn more about human anatomy. Participants in the limb, trunk, neck, spine, pelvis, nervous system and brain dissection workshops will get an insight into the clinical implications that can arise from physical complaints relating to the neuro-musculoskeletal system.
“An important asset in the course is that care professionals can discuss their patients in a clinical setting,” says programme director Professor Aldo Scafoglieri. “The course helps them make a precise clinical diagnosis and propose the correct treatment for patients. It lasts one year and can be combined with a full-time job thanks to online lessons, complemented with two full-time teaching weeks on campus, one in November and one in March. Participants also build a powerful international network with fellow students, and that offers new learning perspectives and business opportunities.”
- Contact: Aldo Scafoglieri, programme director and professor at the Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, [email protected]
Rehabilitation & Human Sustainable Technology
“Rehabilitation & Human Sustainable Technology” is an English-language postgraduate course organised by VUB, in collaboration with the SOMT University of Physiotherapy (Netherlands), Tampere University (Finland) and St John’s University York (UK). The advanced training aims to expand physiotherapists’ knowledge and skills in rehabilitation by training them in the devising and use of technological solutions for challenges in the field of prevention, vitality and rehabilitation. The course lasts one year, in which online lessons are complemented with two teaching weeks on the campus in Brussels and one in the Netherlands at SOMT University of Physiotherapy in Amersfoort.
“Within physiotherapy, the use of technology contributes to better diagnosis and treatment of patients, because it allows specialists to tailor rehabilitation to their personal needs,” says teaching assistant Matthias Eggermont. “In primary care, we see that knowledge about the use of technology is often not widely established among healthcare professionals. That’s why it’s important to teach them those skills through high-quality education. In a society in which people are getting older, there is more focus on the ability to stay mobile and healthy. Physiotherapists play an important role here. The better they can combine competences in technology with clinical reasoning about prevention, vitality and rehabilitation, the bigger their impact on the lives of patients.”
- Contact: Matthias Eggermont, teaching assistant, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, [email protected]
Rehabilitation & Prevention in the Healthy Ageing Context
The micro-credential “Rehabilitation & Prevention in the Healthy Ageing Context” is aimed at physiotherapists who want to specialise in geriatric physiotherapy and the care of vulnerable older people. The course takes one year, consists of one subject and is easily combined with a full-time job thanks to online classes, supplemented by one full-time teaching week on campus in April.
“Lifelong learning shows that as a healthcare professional, you’re committed to the welfare of your patients,” explains Professor David Beckwée. “The goal of this micro-credential is to provide physiotherapists with further knowledge and skills, so they can guide people from a younger age to a healthy ageing process, through movement and prevention. That’s very much needed in a world with a growing elderly population. We focus on supporting patients aged 65-plus, and on the problems that arise with ageing, such as limited mobility or the symptoms that arise from stroke, dementia or Parkinson’s.”
- Contact: David Beckwée, professor at the Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, [email protected]
Preventive healthcare: nutrition, exercise, disease and infection prevention, and mental well-being
For the new micro-credential “Preventive healthcare: nutrition, exercise, disease and infection prevention, and mental well-being”, VUB is working with the Nutrition and Dietetics programme at the Erasmushogeschool Brussel (EhB). The short course is directed at healthcare professionals and other interested parties who wish to explore nutrition, health and a healthy lifestyle. Students follow two subjects. The lessons take place in the first semester, when in-person lessons are combined with recorded lessons and knowledge clips, to facilitate working and studying as much as possible.
“Both our physical and mental health are increasingly under pressure,” says Emma Rheel, Lifelong Learning representative. “At the same time, there is lots of disinformation about health. That’s why the world needs professionals who can contribute to the public discussion on health in an informed way. And that’s exactly what we’re aiming for with this unique academic and practice-oriented micro-credential. Participants will be able to give targeted advice to others on working towards a healthy lifestyle through prevention, by making considered choices in terms of food, movement, infection and mental health.”
- Contact: Emma Rheel, Lifelong Learning, [email protected]
The Dutch-language micro-credential “Electrocardiography” is an applied training course for doctors in training and practising doctors who wish to undertake formal training or refresh their knowledge and skills around cardiac arrhythmia.
As well as cardiologists, other doctors also benefit from accurately recognising and interpreting normal and abnormal electrocardiograms. It enhances primary care and means patients can be treated and referred in a timely manner. In one practice-focused semester, students are introduced to the basics of electrocardiography and learn to treat real cases. We also aim to make the combination of working and studying as easy as possible by offering classes both in person and online.
- Contact: [email protected]
Micro-credential Ethics in Care, Philosophy and Healthcare
The interdisciplinary micro-credential “Ethics in Care, Philosophy and Healthcare” gives healthcare professionals the theoretical and methodological guidelines they need to deal independently with ethical dilemmas.
“Care is becoming more complex,” says Gily Coene, professor at the Faculty of Languages and Humanities. “With new developments and new insights, healthcare providers are increasingly faced with difficult questions: What happens to professional confidentiality when you work with different healthcare professionals for a patient? What if loved ones’ wishes aren’t in the best interests of the person with dementia? What is a good balance between autonomy – freedom, self-direction – and the protection of vulnerable people? In every situation, you have to weigh up whether the medical treatment results in appropriate care for the client. With this one-year course, we teach healthcare providers this critical reflex so they can make reasoned choices.”
- Contact: [email protected]
Registrations for all VUB courses for the 2023-2024 academic year start on 1 July.
Lifelong learning at VUB
Postgraduates, micro-credentials, refresher courses, training for working students: the offer of lifelong learning at VUB includes various types of continued training that allows professionals to combine their work with studying. It enables them to broaden and update their existing knowledge and skills, which is necessary and beneficial on the rapidly evolving labour market.
“The labour market is more fluid than ever. The consequences of technological advances clearly illustrate that. Just think of artificial intelligence: the rapid developments demand new skills in all sorts of professions,” says Nadine Engels, VUB vice-rector Education and Student Affairs. “If you want to remain competitive as a manager or a medic, you have to keep up, and refresher courses are necessary. Other professions are disappearing and being replaced. Then you need to reorientate and retrain. Whether it’s to keep up to date as a professional or to broaden your intellectual horizons, further education such as postgraduate courses and micro-credentials have the benefit of being easier to combine with a full-time job. What’s more, they provide participants with a certificate.”
The university has been a pioneer in lifelong learning since the 1980s. Currently, there are 28 bachelor, master and master after master programmes for working students. As well as its own lifelong learning initiatives, VUB also works with other colleges and universities.
For example, VUB’s location in Brussels ensures cooperation with the Erasmushogeschool Brussel within the Universitaire Associatie Brussel, with which it organises the micro-credential MC Democracy: Challenges & Futures. With UGent and UAntwerp, VUB wants to develop joint training initiatives under the banner of Nova Academy.
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