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Testimonials about the course Human Factors and System Safety

Amanda Kuenstler, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston

Amanda Kuenstler has decades of experience in healthcare as a registered nurse and currently as a risk management specialist at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston. As a clinical risk manager in a hospital setting, she wanted to further her knowledge of safety in other industries and apply that knowledge to healthcare, so she enrolled in the industrially diverse MSc Human Factors and Systems Safety at Lund University.

Prior to her enrolment in the Human Factors and System Safety, Amanda Kuenstler had studied Bowen Family Systems Theory for over eight years. Her decision to further her knowledge of systems theories was strengthened when she met an alumna from Lund’s Human Factors and Systems Safety Programme, who visited her work place at UTMB in Galveston.

“I was intrigued by the fact that it was a programme that was not isolated to healthcare, but rather focused on the way practitioners of any industry can manage safety. It fell in to line with my personal study of families as a system and with my profession as a risk manager in a healthcare setting as we often investigate events or mishaps after the fact. This programme builds a theoretical basis to apply system safety to any industry.” 

In order to accommodate the schedules of professionals, the capacity building MSc programme is carried out half-time and mainly through an interactive learning platform. The course does, however, have three Learning Laboratories that takes place at Lund University.

“It was exciting to study at Lund University, and the interactivity of the online platform created a multi-learning scheme. The academic quality is high-scale and I appreciated how we were encouraged to think critically and discuss amongst one another. The environment allowed us to feel free to express ourselves and to delve into thoughts and discussions. You truly have to challenge yourself with the depth and breadth of the course.”

The Master’s programme has participants from a wide array of cultures and safety-critical industries such as aviation, petroleum, nuclear power and transportation in order to encourage cross-sectional learning.

“As healthcare is relatively new to the safety realm, I found it very valuable to listen and to learn from professionals of other industries. For our new nursing recruits, I often use examples from other industries such as aviation to showcase that the social norm is to punish the pilot, when you should look at the whole environment in which the accident occurred.”

Amanda Kuenstler says that the Human Factors and Systems Safety programme furthered her understanding and gave her the foundation to see the human factor not as a cause, but as a symptom, and this understanding is something you continuously have to believe and disseminate to others in the workplace.

“We are trained as human beings to act quickly and to take the first story that goes along. But we have to dig deeper, and consider the underlying factors. That is one of the most valuable things I learned throughout the course, and continue to work with on a daily basis.”

Michel Gaudreau, Korean Air

After decades of experience in aviation, Michel Gaudreau decided that he wanted to expand his knowledge regarding human factors. He enrolled in the MSc Human Factors and System Safety – a Master’s programme aimed at professionals who want to expand their knowledge and practical skills in order to meet the safety challenges of the 21st century.

The Master's in Human Factors and System Safety is a two-year programme that is carried out half-time in order to accommodate active professionals working in safety-critical industries such as aviation, healthcare and nuclear science. Each class has a wide array of cultures as well as industries in order to encourage cross-sectional learning.

Michel Gaudreau, a former programme participant from the field of aviation, is currently the Senior Vice President of Corporate Safety, Security, and Compliance at Korean Air. He began thinking about human factors when he first started to fly, but his Master's degree in Human Factors and System Safety at Lund University has now turned thought into applicable knowledge.

“Prior to the programme I would say that I was a diamond in the rough. I was thinking about the subject and was on the edge of understanding it. The course polished off the diamond, fine-tuned the knowledge I already had and brought me to where I wanted to be. I have always seen myself as a good strategic thinker, but my eyes were opened when I started to learn about critical thinking and system complexity.”

His thoughts regarding human factors intensified when he became an accident investigator. He complemented his college diplomas in aviation and engineering with a dual degree in economy and psychology. But he felt that it did not fully suffice and decided to study a Master’s degree.

“I searched for Master’s programmes all over the world, but I always kept coming back to Lund University. It has the best curriculum and has world renowned instructors.”

Michel says that even though he has several degrees, he is most proud of his Master’s degree from Lund University, as it was the most challenging of them all.

“You really have to stretch your grey matter and dig deep. You will be challenged, and you will be better in the way in which you deal with human factors. As a result, I am able to take what the University taught me, use it in my job on a daily basis, and pass on the lessons learned to Korean Air. From student to mentor, right?”

About the course

Human Factors and Systems Safety is a capacity building MSc programme that introduces the course participants to human factors, accountability, accident models and resilience engineering in order to meet the safety challenges of the 21st century.

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