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Alleviating labour shortage with Chinese nursing students

Nursing students in Lohja to start work placement at the city of Lohja in the summer.

A group of Chinese students started their Finnish nursing degree studies at Laurea in Lohja last year. The students, who arrived in Finland last summer, first completed preparatory studies during which they learned Finnish and English and familiarised themselves with the Finnish culture, way of studying and health care. The actual nursing studies began in English in the autumn.

The goal is for the Chinese students to complete their nursing degrees in approximately three years. The education has been planned in close cooperation with the town of Lohja, and the town is hoping that the Chinese nurses will help alleviate the labour shortage in social services and health care.

-    Today, recruiting nurses is difficult across Finland, and Lohja is no exception, says head nurse Hannele Patjas, who works in the town’s service area for the elderly.

She is in charge of the service housing units and health care centre wards of the town of Lohja. The units she is responsible for have approximately 390 customer places and 300 employees.

-    In particular, the service housing for the elderly finds it difficult to recruit nurses. That is why it is great that the Chinese students are studying in Lohja, and we hope that they also find jobs here, head nurse Patjas says.

The students admitted to study at Laurea were selected through entrance examinations. Most of them have 5–10 years of nursing experience in China. The admitted students also have a good command of English and they are highly motivated to study and find employment in Finland.

Hannele Patjas praises the systematic and close cooperation between Laurea and the town of Lohja regarding education. Laurea and the town of Lohja have agreed that the group of Chinese students complete their work placement in the service housing for the elderly and on wards in the health care centre in the early summer.

-    It is very likely that after the work placement period, some of them will continue working for us for the summer, Patjas says.

The Chinese students’ command of Finnish plays an important role. Laurea has organised language proficiency tests for the students and informs town representatives of the students’ progress, so that their work placement can be planned accordingly.

Many of the Chinese students in Laurea came to Finland with their families. The integration of the students and their children and spouses alike in Lohja and in Finland is important with regard to their study success. Therefore, head nurse Hannele Patjas calls for active dialogue between all parties – Laurea, the students and the potential employer.

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