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student stories

Backup plan that changed the whole life

Hazel is a 34 years old nurse from the Philippines. She has been practicing nursing for over a decade in different countries: her home country, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong. She had a dream to move to Canada to work as a nurse. 

She had filled all the applications and was hoping to get a clearance to move to a new continent –  but then, Covid hit worldwide and put all her dreams and plans on hold. As it started to seem that a path to Northern America was not that easy, Hazel started to look up for other options. While browsing for potential destinations, she ran into an HSS ad in  Facebook: They were looking for applicants who want to work in Finland as practical nurse. “At first , I was hesitant to apply because I thought that agencies are only hiring nurses from the Philippines  and also maybe it’s a scam or they just want money from people” Hazel tells and continues:” But then I received an email from the Finnish CEO of HSS, who invited me for an  orientation. I attended the orientation and learned that the company and the program is legit”.

Studying the Finnish language wasn’t easy: it is one of the most difficult languages in the world and Hazel had to study after long days at work. “There was a 20 minutes class four times a week and weekly examination every Sunday”. Fortunately, Hazel’s employer was very supportive and she was given time and peace for her studies. As the studies went along, Hazel dropped her application to Canada and decided to put all her effort to pursue a career opportunity in Finland, Europe. “I already knew some people who were working in Finland. It is also a very promising country for medical professional. Salary is 10 times higher than salary in the Philippines”:

After arriving in Finland Hazel took part in an HSS orientation program after which she was relocated to Vantaa. Soon she started to study to become a qualified practical nurse in Finland. “We had online studies. We attend the class 2 times a week for 1 and half hours. I am very thankful to our teachers because they were very approachable and understanding” Hazel praises. However, online studying requires lots of self-control and it is not as much fun as learning in the classroom. On the other hand, studying online saves time and money and can easily be adjusted to a working week schedule.” Graduation gave Hazel a pay rise and more responsibilities at work. “The work is more or less the same, but I have a lot more responsibilities and I am on my own in many situations”.

Finland is the happiest country in the world  according to a global study. Hazel thinks that happiness is built on the wonderful nature, easy access transport, well governed country, low crime rate, law abiding citizens, free education and health care. She says she has never experienced racism here but she also says that Finnish people are cold as the climate. “I don’t  know who my neighbors are. They just want their personal space and minding their own business. Luckily my colleagues are very approachable, nice and friendly. You can’t physically see the Finnish people’s happy face but deep inside they have a lot of reasons to be happy” she summarized her experience about the Finns.

Hazel has a lot to look for in the future.  She says she wants to continue working in the field of medicine, but perhaps further educate herself to become a bioanalytic. She also has dreams like any Finn or Filipino: to get married and have children. To build a house, to have a happy, prosperous life.  “I also dream that my and my partner’s parents will live long and healthy lives to see how their grandchildren will grow up”.

Living far away from home is not always easy. Especially the cold and dark days in Finland makes Hazel homesick, but she says she is forever grateful for the opportunities she has been given.  Also, she is happy and grateful for her Finnish partner to make her life full and colorful in Finland.

Categories
student stories Work in Finland

Rodora’s life in Finland

Rodora came to Finland only 16 months ago to work as a caregiver for the elderly. She was part of the HSS training program, and after the online studies and exams in Hong Kong she was relocated to Vantaa, one of the major cities in southern Finland. Rodora has
wide experience working in different countries and cultures as before Finland, she had worked in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong.

Rodora had studied successfully in the Philippines, and after graduation, she worked there for not even a year. Then she realized
she could not help her younger siblings pay their tuition fees unless she found better-paid opportunities abroad.

However, studying and working in a country with four seasons and snow was not in her wildest dreams. Thanks to the HSS program and Rodora’s hard work, this fantasy became a reality, and she graduated as a practical nurse around the same time the first snow of 2022 came down in Finland.

Finland is a clean, safe country with a peaceful atmosphere and respect for other people and cultures. Living and working in Finland is safe and satisfying. “All of Finland’s four seasons have beauty, and you will experience different events from nature, such as aurora borealis and snow,” says Rodora. She also wants to share a fun fact with us:
“Did you know that trees don’t die in winter? They will start to bloom again in spring, continue growing in summer, then its leaves fall in autumn and become white in winter?”
Working hours in Finland are limited, and there is plenty of free- and vacation time for all employees. “I work 39 hours a week and have two days off every week,” explains Rodora about her weekly routines. About the work itself, Rodora continues: “As a practical
nurse here, we have to be aware of different cases of each patient. We take care of their daily routines, and we can also create activities for them. The nursing home also has some activities for the residents that everyone enjoys watching or participating in– and I also find them enjoyable”.


Rodora works as a practical nurse, which has given her many more
responsibilities as she needs to work more independently. After 16 months in Finland, the language still feels difficult. Still, Rodora enjoys talking with her patients and tells that it is very satisfying to be able to run a conversation in Finnish: “I think the best thing about my work currently is when I am being understood by the residents when I communicate with them even I can only speak basic Finnish. Language and medication are challenging on my part especially being very new in this country and the healthcare field, but I continue working it out”.


She studied to become a qualified practical nurse alongside working as a caregiver.

Her studies were free as she was part of the HSS program and studying is generally free in Finland. “During my studies, I apportioned the time to read the lessons, submitted all the assignments, and did the test on deadlines which helped me to follow the process.
 
Rodora was especially impressed by the Finnish teaching system from the start. She gives an example of the Finnish language studies: “We are taught about the grammar, and then we can practice the speaking skills with the native speakers. The teachers follow up on the student’s weaknesses from the lesson until They understand the topics. I agree that all the teachers’ discussions during the class was certainly significant to actual work.”
 
Right now, Rodora is so happy with how her life is that she is not dreaming of anything else professionally. “I like my work, and it pays well enough to gather some savings as well.” She still has one dream: “I wish someday one of my family member will be like me as a practical nurse here in Finland.”

Categories
Work in Finland

The first group of care assistants who came to Finland graduated as practical nurses!

The first group of care assistants who came to Finland through the new training model of Healthcare Staffing Solutions (HSS) graduated as practical nurses on Friday, November 25, 2022. The goal of HSS is to solve the growing staffing needs of nursing homes with the help of work-based immigration.

The study takes place in the digital learning and recruitment platform developed by HSS: Superkoulu. In the HSS education model, students study the Finnish language in their country of origin, as well as the theory studies required for nursing assistant training from the parts of the nursing education qualification. After coming to Finland, the persons complete the necessary tests for the qualification of a care assistant, for example, in cooperation with Sataedu (vocational school), and then continue work as a care assistant. Postgraduate studies for the practical nursing degree are made possible with a learning contract.

The group of 15 students who are graduating now arrived in Finland through the activities of HSS in August-September 2021. Since they arrived in Finland, they have been employed in Mehiläinen‘s social services – first as care assistants and now in the future as practical nurses.

“It’s great to be able to celebrate Graduation. Studying and integration have gone well for the group. HSS has organized comprehensive integration activities and in Mehiläinen’s social services we have been able to focus on the orientation of work units and employees, the integration of employees in the workplace and supporting studies and the development of the Finnish language”, rejoices project manager Maria Kylänpää of Mehiläinen’s social services.

“I enjoy my work, and I have friends here. I enjoy new experiences because it’s different here than in the Philippines. Here there is snow, free education, and a lot of winter activities. I haven’t experienced them before. I think the education has been challenging because I don’t have a health degree before. The Finnish language is also challenging. When the student finds a routine, the work is easier,” says Rodora Miatapal, who has now graduated as a practical nurse.

The students have completed the care assistant’s theory and grammar studies in their country of origin.

“The training consists of 10-12 months of studying the Finnish language and training to prepare for the care assistant exams. The language training is specialized on the future work and living environment in terms of culture and content,” says HSS CEO Jussi Lehmuskallio.

After coming to Finland, the students completed the tests required for the training of a care assistant in connection with the intensive induction. They have continued their nursing studies with an apprenticeship contract. The nursing assistant and nursing studies have been implemented with Sataedu in the HSS model. Sataedu has several years of experience training family nurses for people with immigrant backgrounds. The teaching focuses on Finnish language studies. As language skills accumulate, studies will extend to nursing studies.

“We have noticed that the language and care training in the country of origin is a good way to ensure the employee’s motivation and suitability. Our focus is now on ensuring that language skills development continues even after coming to Finland. It is the most important element for success in the workplace and in the new home country,” He continues.

With the help of almost four hundred nurses who came through HSS, operational processes such as settlement, recruitment, and training paths have been continuously developed.

“We are proud that we operate ethically, and the feedback from both the employers and the recruits themselves is positive,” Lehmuskallio says.

The establishment of HSS about three years ago was a strategic project for Mehiläinen to support its personnel recruitment and the needs of our external customers.

“We have increased the number of recruitment and training, and we already have about 1,000 nurses in training at HSS. We are always developing our innovative and ethical recruitment and training model and preparing for significant growth for HSS,” concludes Mehiläinen’s human resources director Tatu Tulokas.​​​​​​​​

Categories
student stories Work in Finland

Learning a new profession – and getting paid for it!

Maricel Dano is a Philippine college graduate who majored in industrial arts. Despite her educational background she worked seventeen years in Hong Kong as a domestic helper. Maricel learned about the HSS program from her friend and found it very appealing as the training was free and a good job in Finland was guaranteed to all who passed the tests. “The whole journey was very worthwhile because I even had the full support from my previous employers in Hong Kong” Maricel says and completes: “I think that my Hong Kong employers must be part of my future success as they were so supportive from the very beginning”.

Maricel works and lives in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland. Her workplace overlooks the entire city view and she commutes by bus and metro. “I find my journey to my work and back as relaxing sightseeing”. Maricel tells that it is very easy to get around in Helsinki. Public transportation is safe, well organized and the app tells you exactly where to go and when. Also running errands and shopping is made easy as according to Maricel it seems that there are shopping centers everywhere.

“I am a health care provider, a care assistant to be exact, in one of the home care facilities around Helsinki. My daily work routine is to take care of the elderlies ranging from feeding, cleaning, organizing their personal stuff and the one I love most is when I interact with them during activities.  I am fond of hearing some of the elderlies’ stories because I feel as if it teaches me life’s lesson” describes Maricel her working days. “I find my work very rewarding. I am also touching lives in so many ways: it is not only the patient but their families as well. At the workplace, everyone is working and helping together as a support group to make work easy and effective”.

Maricel works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. That leaves her with a generous amount of free time, but as she has already started studying to become a practical nurse, there is a lot to do in non-working hours as well. “My dream is to become a practical nurse and continue to upgrade myself because I never thought I am afforded this privilege of working and studying yet compensated at the same time” explains Maricel with great gratitude.

She shares her apartment with three other Philippine nurses. They all have their own bedrooms and shared kitchen and living room. Living here is easy to manage – she has been in Finland only two months but she has adjusted well. “Language is still a bit of a struggle and also I need to learn how to adjust my clothing according to Finnish weather” she summarizes the challenges she has faced so far. “However, I know these are all the things I can overcome and I learn the language fast. Nobody is expecting me to be fluent after such a short time here”.

Finland is a country with a healthy environment like clean air and fresh water. Finland prides itself as the happiest country in the world with high regards to work immigrants like me. “I believe that this country will give me the opportunity to flourish in many ways, also economically. My dream is that I could also help my family back home and that we all could have comfortable lives”. Lastly, I hope to bring my family someday and experience together my beautiful host country, Finland!

Categories
student stories Work in Finland

I hardly dared to dream about Work in Finland.

When Joy Len landed in Finland in April 2022, she went thru lots of emotion. She had just arrived in the middle of the winter wonderland: everything was white, and snow kept coming down. “I couldn’t believe that I was in Europe. Passing through the HSS program and moving to Finland was such a big and fantastic thing that I hardly dared to dream about it.” -Joy says.

Joy is from HSS training batch 11. Before joining the HSS training program, She worked as a domestic helper for two years in Hong Kong.
“To live and work in Finland is amazing. I will forever be grateful to HSS because this truly changed my life. One day I will have a chance to reunite with my family as I can bring them to Finland, too”.
Joy says that she is working and, at the same time studying to become a practical nurse.
“Even though I work full time and study, I still have free time to rest and spend with my friends.”

Finland is a beautiful country, and starting a new life here has been surprisingly easy. It is a very healthy and down-to-earth lifestyle. The only thing that is a bit difficult is the Finnish language, and learning it takes time, hard work, and patience. Finland has the most fantastic nature that gives activities and pleasure for free. I am a nature lover, and last summer, “I was amazed that everywhere are flowers that bloom and green nature,” says Joy and continues: “After my duty or during my day off, my friends and I enjoyed walking around to see more amazing places. I have enough time to visit my friends from different cities and enjoy every moment of life.”

At work, it has been friendly and easy. Some of my colleagues are very helpful. They teach and help me manage even when there are difficulties because of the language. Also, the residents at Joy’s work are understanding and helpful, and some are keen on teaching Joy Finnish when working. But luckily, everyone seems to understand that I’m still adjusting.

And finally, to everyone who wants to try and change their life for the better, Joy highly recommends grabbing the opportunity to join and learn in the program of HSS. I am sure that it will change your life for the better in the future.