Nursing Student Sharon Adje: “I am very happy with my career choice”
Sharon Adje, originally from Zimbabwe, arrived in Finland in 2019 as a student. She first started her studies – physical education for elderly people – in Haaga-Helia in Vierumäki. After she got her University Diploma in adapted physical activity, she was looking for a school in nursing and found an interesting option. Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki had recently launched a new bilingual Nursing degree programme, targeted especially at immigrants. Sharon applied and was happily able to start the studies of her dreams in January 2022.
Embracing language skills in the Bilingual Nursing programme
When Sharon started her studies in the Bilingual Nursing programme, her Finnish language level was very basic, A1. The idea is that the studies will provide the students the language skills required of a nurse working in Finland. Studies will begin in English without the need of Finnish language proficiency. The role of Finnish as a language of instruction strengthens as language skills increase.
Sharon says that during the classes, they actively deal with the vocabulary of the nursing field. She gives an example from a pharmacotherapy course: first they study the techniques, then they can study the names of the instruments in Finnish with their language teacher.
“And of course, it is also possible to learn at work. It is the useful real everyday language, not classroom language”, she smiles.
She explains that the students have a wonderful opportunity to practice their language and work skills in an authentic, safe environment without pressure. At Helsinki University Hospital HUS, the instructions are written in Finnish and the students are getting familiar with the specific vocabulary.
Study mates from all over the world
The students will be studying in a multicultural group, with English and Finnish as teaching languages. Sharon describes that her study group is truly international. She believes that there are at least 10 different nationalities in the group, for example from Kenia, Nigeria, Nepal, and Pakistan. The studies highlight intercultural communication and operating in the environments of Finnish health care services.
“Even though our backgrounds are different, we share a similar mindset in the group. There is a very supportive atmosphere during the lessons, and we encourage each other”, says Sharon with satisfaction.
Nursing studies are studied at Metropolia’s newest campus in Myllypuro, in Eastern Helsinki. The public transport connections to the campus are excellent. Sharon is also delighted with the modern and unique learning facilities, from classroom to simulation hospital and libraries.
“Myllypuro campus has a dynamic spirit, and the students are given everything they would need during their studies”.
Work placement is an opportunity to deepen what you have learned
About a third (75 ECTS) of the studies consists of supervised practical trainings in various social and health care environments, with customer contact. The work placements are spread along the studies. Sharon has fond memories of her work placements. Her first five-week work placement took place in a nursing home. She completed the second work placement in Helsinki University Hospital HUS. Sharon appreciates that the classes are followed by practice. This way it is also easier to understand what you are really doing and why. The staff was very patient with Sharon.
“I think the work placement in HUS Tornisairaala has been one of the most rewarding experiences so far. I really was able to test what I’ve learned at school. It was also an opportunity to grow both language and technical skills from the work environment”, Sharon underlines.
Sharon wants to give her special thanks to senior lecturer Päivi Rimpioja. All the work placements were found by Metropolia, but it was Päivi who helped the most and gave all the necessary instructions.
Many nursing students can work already during their studies. Sharon also says that she has an employment contract as a nurse practitioner / nursing student. “I am currently working for City if Helsinki, Koskela Seniorikeskus C1 Psychogeriatric under Päivi Aulama. Thanks to her nurturing, we grow in the profession everyday. When she catches us speaking English she always says “Sharon puhuu suomeksi”, says Sharon.
The future in Finland as a registered nurse
Sharon thinks that she is on the right path. The most rewarding when working in a hospital are the people. She often misses the people she has met, patients or colleagues. “When you help the patients, they thank you. It is gratifying to get nice words from the patient and their family. They can see you genuinely.”
Sharon hopes to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Care by the end of 2024. After graduating as a registered nurse, her intention is to stay in Finland to live and work. She sees her employment opportunities here in northern Europe as excellent. Now, she thinks her career will focus on primary care.
“My daughter was also born in Finland, so I have no reason to leave. I am very happy with my career choice and confident that as a registered nurse I can take care of my family. This also makes me happy mentally and spiritually”, Sharon ponders.
Sharon recommends Metropolia’s Bilingual Nursing studies to someone who wants to grow in the healthcare field, for example from a nurse practitioner to a registered nurse. In her opinion, people who have a desire to help other people will succeed in their studies.
“Don’t be afraid of the challenges, you will grow with the job”, Sharon assures.
Study in bilingual Nursing programme and work in Finland
Graduates will be able to work in a wide range of positions in the healthcare field, working both independently and in multi-professional teams. The graduates may find employment in primary health care, specialised nursing units or the private health care sector. In addition to these, the nurse’s degree will enable you to work as an expert or consultant, for a non-profit organization or in international duties.