History of the Faculty of Health Studies (FHS) began on 1 January, 2002, when the Institute of Health Studies (IHS) was established at the University of Pardubice. Its creation resulted from the interest of the three entities – the University of Pardubice, the Regional Hospital of Pardubice (joint venture) and the Medical College of Pardubice – to accredit the three-year full-time Bachelor’s degree programme Nursing for study branches General Nursing and Midwifery. The developed programmes were designed for all candidates who had successfully completed secondary general or vocational education with a school-leaving examination and subsequently met the admission requirements. At the same time they had to respect the curricula, material and human resource provision of lessons to meet the requirements of the European Union in terms of scope and quality of studies. In its comprehensive approach that includes classical therapeutic and preventive nursing care for outpatient or hospitalized children, seniors, families and handicapped patients, etc. The developed programme for both branches of study was on the recommendation of the Accreditation Commission approved by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports as one of the first in the Czech Republic. It is worth emphasizing the fact that above mentioned branches of study, General Nursing and Midwifery, belong to seven branches guaranteed by the Government whose graduates can apply, after they graduate, for a job position in their field of expertise in the European Union countries. The lessons themselves in the newly established IHS could begin after successful accreditation in cooperation with the Regional Hospital of Pardubice (joint venture) in the academic year 2002/2003 already, when 90 students were enrolled to study.
After its establishment the Institute of Health Studies started to develop very quickly and dynamically. In addition to expansion of the lessons and growth of number of students, the Institute contributed to extensive scientific and publishing activities and to solution of range of grant research studies in cooperation with experienced teachers from the Regional Hospital of Pardubice (joint venture). Conferment of the official status of the clinic to three clinical departments of the Regional Hospital of Pardubice (joint venture) (Surgery, Internal Medicine, Otorhinolaryngology and Surgery of the Head and Throat) contributed to the development of the newly established Institute of Health Studies. In the following years, the two two-year full-time follow-up Master’s study branches were successively accredited – in academic year 2005/2006 follow-up Master’s study programme Nursing was opened, in 2006/2007 follow-up Master’s study programme Nursing in Selected Clinical Branches and finally in the same year (2006/2007) the doctoral degree programme Specializations in Health, branch of study Prevention, Improvement and Therapy of Health and Social Problems of Children, Adults and Seniors was newly re-accredited in cooperation with the Faculty of Health and Social Studies of the University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice. In 2005 the first Graduation Ceremony of Bachelor’s degree students was held at the Institute of Health Studies. At the end of 2006 the Institute of Health Studies had two Bachelor’s degree, two Master’s degree and one doctoral degree study programmes accredited, provided lessons for 306 students, had its own scientific board and representation in the Scientific Board of the University of Pardubice and in four subject or scientific advisory faculty boards (Hradec Kralove, Ceske Budejovice, Presov).
On 1 January 2007, the above mentioned activities resulted in the provision of the Faculty of Health Studies as the sixth faculty of the University of Pardubice. In the same year the first Graduation Day Ceremony of Master’s degree students of the branch Nursing was held.
However, the development of the young faculty didn’t stop. In 2008 the number of original three clinics extended with further two clinical departments (Neurology and Gynaecology and Obstetrics). Gradually, other study programmes and branches were accredited. In 2008 it was Bachelor’s study programme Specializations in Health, branch Paramedic and joint doctoral study programme Nursing with the Faculty of Health and Social Studies of the University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice, in 2009 it was combined form of Bachelor’s degree programme Nursing, branch General Nurse, in 2010 study programme Specializations in Health, study branch Radiology Assistant and finally Bachelor’s degree study programme Health and Social Care, study branch Health and Social Worker. In academic year 2011/2012 follow-up Master’s study programme Specializations in Health was newly opened with branch of study Perioperative Care in Gynaecology and Obstetrics. Today the lessons are provided or guaranteed by sufficient number of habilitated teachers, most of them work in Regional Hospital of Pardubice (joint venture), and at the same time they are engaged at the Faculty.
Considerable attention is paid to research, publishing work and development projects at the Faculty. Since the establishment of the Faculty in 2007 academic staff or Faculty employees have worked on a number of research and development projects within the framework of calls of different organizations and agencies (University Development Fund, Internal Grant Agency of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, Internal Grant Agency of the University of Pardubice, Operational Program Education for Competitiveness). Currently, the Faculty is involved two projects aimed at development and innovation of study programmes and internationalization of the Faculty within the Operational Programme Education for Competitiveness (grant of a total of CZK 30 million).
Participation of students and academic staff at both domestic and international congresses and conferences is also monitored and evaluated (in academic year 2012/2013 there was an active participation in Slovakia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Great Britain and Sweden). The Faculty itself also organizes regular Faculty (since 2004) and national rounds (since 2006) of the student scientific conference and the conference of students of doctoral study programmes. It is involved in organization of conferences focusing on issues of non-medical health workers together with the Regional Hospital of Pardubice (joint venture). The mutual cooperation is supported by the fact that the head of the Regional Hospital of Pardubice (joint venture) is represented in the scientific board of the FHS and vice versa the Dean of the Faculty is invited to participate at the meetings of the Head Physicians’ Board. The cooperation is also reflected in the joint involvement in scientific projects (Internal Grant Agency of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, Internal Grant Agency of the University of Pardubice, and Operational Program Education for Competitiveness) which culminate with joint publications in Czech and foreign journals. The Regional Hospital of Pardubice (joint venture) is also partner of one of above mentioned projects from the Operational Program Education for Competitiveness, which allowed financing of the study centre (opened on the hospital grounds in 2011) and upgrade of equipment in the Hospital auditorium.
In the programme of foreign mobility Lifelong Learning Programme Erasmus, the Faculty carries out regular mobility of students and academic staff in cooperation with following partners - Turku University of Applied Sciences, Vaasa Polytechnik, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (Finland); University of Malta (Malta); Gjovik University College (Norway); Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco, CESPU (Portugal); TEI of Athens (Greece); Prešovská univerzita v Prešově, Univerzita Konštantína Filozofa v Nitře (Slovakia); Ankara University (Turkey); Universidad de Jaén (Spain). Since 2012, the Faculty organized two International Weeks (one in 2012 and one in 2013) and an International Conference entitled “Quality and Its Perspectives” (April 2014), during which international relations were confirmed. There are other similar activities planned, and a significant positive factor has been the fact that considerable part of one of the two projects worked on within the Operational Program Education for Competitiveness (2013–2015) focuses on international collaboration.
The history and present of the Faculty is more than the above stated facts. Other study programmes, specialized courses and seminars were submitted for accreditation or application for approval etc. As of 31 January 2014 there were 835 students at the Faculty including 16 students enrolled in the doctoral degree programmes. Considerable attention continues to be paid, in addition to lessons themselves, to scientific and professional activities and enhancement of qualification of all staff. The head of the Faculty is aware of the fact that it is necessary to adapt to trends and tendencies in the education of the young generation as well as the needs of our society regarding education and therefore it is trying to secure the best possible conditions for students to acquire theoretical knowledge and practical skills.