Yesterday, 15th October, was the first training day for 32 students in the most recent in our country programme of study "Rehabilitation, Sea Treatment, Wellness and SPA", which Medical University - Varna has launched this year. Assoc. Prof. Emanuela Mutafova, Dean of the Faculty of Public Health, welcomed the newly admitted students and presented in brief the new programme.
"Rehabilitation, Sea Treatment, Wellness and SPA" Master Programme is a natural continuation of the educational degree of "Professional Bachelor in Rehabilitation", taught at the medical colleges in the country. The experience of leading European countries, with longstanding traditions in the field of Balneology such as France, Germany, the Netherlands has been used in the process of its creation. Manual medicine, specialized massage and kinesitherapeutic techniques, thalassotherapy, wellness and SPA, nutrition and dietetics are among the major medical subjects that students are going to study. Furthermore, the Master Programme also includes a wide range of non-medical subjects in the field of Psychology, Economics, Management, Tourism, which are being taught routinely within such programmes in Europe. The academic staff includes both lecturers from MU-Varna, as well as experts from other universities in the city. After completing the two-year programme, the alumni will be able to work not only at SPA, rehabilitation, recreation and sports centres, but also at multiprofile hospitals for active treatment, retirement homes and hospices, social care establishments for persons with disabilities.
The medical training will be carried out at the Department of Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation, Sea Treatment and Occupational Diseases and at the clinics of St. Marina University Hospital - Varna. Moreover, the coastal training facilities will be used, as well. The main purpose is to provide students with an access to the most modern balneological and SPA centres, located in the vicinity of Varna.
"In recent years, there has been a noticeable shortage of specialized personnel for positions that are new or emerging quite recently, as well as of staff for middle management positions, of the so-called "rare" specialists - in the field of golf tourism, some SPA and wellness procedures, massages and so on", said Assoc. Prof. Emanuela Mutafova. "There is a demand for a specialized training, for modernization of curricula and programmes so that the training should be closely related to business."
The discussion about the need for a Master Programme in the field of rehabilitation has been going on for a dozen of years in our country and this is related to one particular drawback in our education – the non-recognition of the degree of "Professional Bachelor" in Europe because it does not comply with the European legislation. The only option for the graduates of the medical colleges in the country so far has been to upgrade their education directly to a Master degree at the National Sports Academy - NSA. However, this is an activity that according to the current legislation in our country shall be carried out by medical universities.
In the course of several years, the team of MU-Varna which supports the programme, has been considering with the Association of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine the necessary steps that should be taken in order to change this situation. After receiving numerous inquiries and suggestions on the part of the students and graduates, the Management of MU-Varna came to the conclusion that such a Master degree was really necessary. "Thus actions were taken for the development of a curriculum, involving a team of specialists in the process of its creation, who in my view, accomplished the task in a professional way, and today MU-Varna is the only higher medical school, which provides young people with the opportunity to acquire good qualification in this modern area of medicine", said the programme manager Dr. Iliya Todorov from the Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine at MU - Varna. "Our University is an innovator, and this Master Programme is the only one of its kind in the country."
We would like to remind you that the programme was presented for the first time at the First Annual Congress of the Bulgarian Union of Balneology and SPA Tourism, held in May, in Hissar. It aroused a great deal of interest among the participants at the forum - representatives of tourism industry. Managers of prestigious balneological and SPA hotels in Bulgaria and abroad, of travel agencies, mayors and guests at the Congress gave a high assessment of the structure and content of the programme and commented that it fully met the needs of the business and could be assessed as very perspective.