Honorary Doctor Kathleen Galvin to give a public lecture

A nurse holding the hand of a patient

Currently, the issue of an ageing population in Europe is being frequently discussed – not least due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Realising how older people were afflicted by the pandemic, both in the United Kingdom and in Sweden, has been painful. The differences between various types of care and caring institutions became even more obvious, and it was clearly highlighted that many forms of care and support for older people have as we knew, become outdated. We have learned and affirmed a lot during this period,” said Kathleen Galvin, Professor of Caring Science at the University of Borås.

One thing she has noted during the pandemic is that older people are becoming more interested in digital technology and many have learned to master this medium.

“Before the pandemic, we expected that many of the older people we were going to interview would have little experience of digital technology. Instead, many of those interviewed told us it was technology that was one thing that became so important to them in their isolation. Digitalisation appears to have expanded faster than we had anticipated when we began the studies!”

A long experience of research

Issues such as, the meaning of dignity, well-being, and the everyday experience of the absence of well-being are familiar to researchers like Kathleen Galvin. When, in February 2022, she was appointed honorary doctor within the field of the Human Perspective in Care at the University of Borås, By then, 24 years had passed since she had defended her thesis on the topic of nurse-led interventions at emergency hospitals. And it had been 20 years since she had first made contact with research colleagues at the University of Borås.

Her first assignments, she recalls, dealt with supporting the Department of Caring Science with internationalisation, major research applications and applications of lifeworld research in teaching. During her first years, she engaged in frequent collaborations with Professors of Caring Science Margaretha Ekberg and Karin Dahlberg. From 2013 to 2020, she held a position as Visiting Professor at the University of Borås, which meant a continued collaboration.

“We are using a lifeworld theoretical approach in order to create fresh knowledge on the subject of caring, relevant to all health and social services, but in INNOVATEDIGNITY, particularly of older people. The unique part of this perspective is that it offers a deepened understanding of the lives of older people, which has its roots in continental, philosophical traditions,” said Kathleen Galvin.

Proud of her collaboration with the University of Borås

Research colleagues describe Kathleen Galvin’s immense involvement in developing and highlighting the importance of existential issues in connection with hospital and community care as a means of deepening the important focus on the patient perspective. She has done extensive research work and has produced scientific studies within in an area that covers applied research on health sciences, health, wellbeing, and patients’ participation and involvement in research. Above all, she has conducted qualitative research on people’s experiences of various conditions. To the question of what she is most proud of in her career, she mentions, above all, the 27 doctoral students she has supervised over many years and with whom she has maintained contact.

Another important aspect of her career is the rewarding collaboration she has shared with Karin Dahlberg, Margaretha Ekeberg and Les Todres.

“We worked towards developing lifeworld research and the funding we received was a confirmation of the vital importance of the method. I am also very happy for the collaborations I have had with many other colleagues at the University of Borås.”

During her period at the University of Borås, Kathleen Galvin contributed to strengthening the research area of Caring Science, the doctoral education programme, and the international networks and collaborations among researchers. She has participated in research projects and seminars and given inspiring lectures to Caring Science students that were highly appreciated by researchers, teachers, and students alike. She has been an asset to the doctoral education programme and a welcome support to doctoral students, as a source of inspiration and knowledge.

Public lecture on 20 April

The Honorary Doctorate is a token of gratitude for Kathleen Galvin’s many contributions to the university.

On 20 April, she will give a public lecture with the title: Why caring needs the existential: Well-being, ill-being and the lifeworld. On the 22 April, she is to be installed as Honorary Doctor during the Academic Ceremony.

“I am very proud of this honour and am very much looking forward to coming to Borås in April,” she concluded.

Kathleen Galvin
Kathleen Galvin received her qualifications as a nurse at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. To begin with, she worked within emergency services and with care of older people and later taught at the University of Brighton, the University of Hull, and Bournemouth University. While working on her doctoral thesis, which she defended at the University of Manchester in 1997, she also did clinical work. In her thesis, she examined in what ways interventions from nurses could promote health at emergency hospitals. Kathleen Galvin has connections with a large international network and collaborates with colleagues in, Canada, Australia, and Scandinavia. In 2003, she was awarded the title of “International Leader in Nursing” by Zeta Omega, Chapter, Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma), New York.

* Reflective Lifeworld Research, RLR, was developed by researchers Karin Dahlberg, Helena Dahlberg, and Maria Nyström at the University of Borås during the early 2000s.

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The research area The Human Perspective in Care