“The Sustainable Care Conference 2018; the beginning of a Journey”


Early afternoon at the 24th of September I left Sweden and arrived late at night at Sheffield station, UK. The next morning was beautiful but with a very cold temperature. I walked through the city to the University buildings, to join the first annual conference in the Sustainable care program. Outside one of the buildings there was an artwork in the shape of a bird. The bird was made of assembly tools from IKEA. The founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, used to live not far from where I live in Sweden, and IKEA and the Kamprad family foundation has done a lot for the region where I live and work, so I felt instantly close to home.

Maria Nilsson

Maria Nilsson, Linnaeus University

I am a PhD-student from the Linnaeus University in the south east of Sweden. My background is as a registered nurse with a specialism in theatre nursing. I’ve also worked in the elderly care and in primary care. I am affiliated at the Swedish Family Care Competence Center at Linnaeus University. My thesis is about how new technology affects health and wellbeing for older persons and their informal carers. My focus is on the Nordic countries, and I hope to be able to take a meso- and macro perspective in my research. The conditions for implementing new technology in the home care, in the Nordic countries, are good, a very high percentage of the households have internet connection for example. Despite this, the levels of implementation and use in the municipalities are low.

Linnaeus University and my research centre are linked to the Sustainable Care programme and the international PhD-network, and it will be exciting to see what collaborations we can start during the years to come.

It was two very interesting days at the conference with a lot of inspiration for the future. It was interesting to hear about the situation in elderly care in the UK, which bear a lot of resemblance with the situation in Sweden, the way I perceive it. We are all facing the challenges of demographic changes and demands and needs exceeding available resources, both seen in terms of economy as well as human resources in the society. Together I hope we will be able to create a shared understanding of the problems we are all facing, and provide useful insights and results that will improve the lives of older people and informal carers.

At the conference I met other doctoral students affiliated at universities in the UK as well as at other European universities. In the network we are now 12 students representing 12 different countries. That is a strength, and I look forward to be part of the discussions and sharing of experiences and knowledge. Thanks to solutions like Skype and Whatsapp for instance, my PhD colleagues feels quite near, and since we’re spread out around the globe (some are in Australia), there is always someone awake and at work, whenever you post a question.

I would like to end by saying thank you to the team in Sheffield for a well-organised and interesting conference!

Maria Nilsson
Doctoral Student, RN,
The Swedish Family Care Competence Centre
Linnaeus University


Linnaeus University are an academic partner of the Sustainable Care programme.

Read more about the first Sustainable Care Annual Programme conference