Tuesday. 26.09.2023

Being a foreigner in any country is never easy or for the faint of heart. One thing that does help though is being a foreigner in a country that highly values education and allows for anyone to get it or further it even if someone is not a native. Finland is one said country and there are many options and schools to chose from if higher education is something one wants to pursue.

Nursing is one of such degrees. It is also one on high demand, not only because it is always needed, but specially lately with the current situation happening with elderly homes, around the country. At the moment, most nursing degrees are conducted in Finnish, so a high level of Finnish language skills are required, although that might be changing soon. But even if the degree can be taken in English, Finnish is still required to be able to work.

There are 13 nursing bachelor degrees in Finland, three of them in the Uusimaa region (two in Helsinki and one in Vantaa). All of them require full time studies of 3 and half to 4 and half years to complete, and after which a nurse’s qualification is granted in accordance with EU directives.

This is a degree provided by universities of applied sciences like Metropolia or Laurea (in the Helsinki area) and are suitable for anyone looking to be a public health nurse, a midwife or a paramedic, even though the credits are a bit different between them (210 for registered nurses, 240 for public health nurses and paramedics, and 270 for midwives).

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are not charged from Finnish students or students from the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) countries. The costs of tuition fees for non-EU or non-EEA students depend on the school one attends.

Some charge 5,000 euros per year (Savonia University of Applied Sciences in Kuopio); others, like Metropolia in Helsinki, charge 11,000 euros per year. It cannot be forgotten that the Finnish government helps with some of the students expenses, in a form of a monthly allowance, if they fill certain requirements.

For instance, a student cannot get that allowance if s/he works full time and studies at the same time. But s/he will likely get it if is unemployed or working part time (usually maximum of 15 hours per week). To get more information and to apply to such allowances one has to contact the local Social Security (Kela) offices.

Practical nursing

As for practical nursing, the studies are provided by ammattikoulu or professional schools, for which a high school diploma is also required to sign up, The classes for these are mostly taken in Finnish, so Finnish language skills are required as well.

Usually foreigners attend such schools right after taking the Finnish language courses granted by the unemployment office (TE-toimisto), as a way to apply the skills learned and further the chances at better and skilled employment.

There are some schools, like Omnia, that provide the studies in English (and that specialise in elderly care, for this course). But one will have to be able to speak and understand Finnish anyway to be able to work in Finland, in this area, at the moment.

Elderly care and day care

If someone chooses to specialise in elderly care, s/he can work in home care; nursing homes; assisted living houses; day centres and day hospitals; geriatric, psychogeriatric, health centre or dementia wards; or hospitals.

If the speciality is in children and adolescents , then the job possibilities lie mostly in day care, special needs assistants in schools, in children’s afternoon clubs, as family support workers, in children’s homes, child welfare or other low-threshold services for young people.

With this course, practical nurses become a health care professional with a protected occupational title and are required to list and register at Valvira’s (National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health) public register called Terhikki.

Ten study programs

For this line of work, there are ten specific study programs to chose from:

  1. Care for the elderly.
  2. Emergency care.
  3. Care for the disabled.
  4. Nursing and care.
  5. Children’s and Youth Care education.
  6. Podiatric care.
  7. Mental health and substance abuse welfare work.
  8. Rehabilitation.
  9. Oral and dental care.
  10. Customer services and information management.

It cannot be ignored that, in general in Finnish society, the Finnish degrees are taken more seriously by employers than any other, which means getting a degree from a Finnish university, or professional schools, is a big advantage that raises ones chances at better employment, in this country and well worth the effort.

Links of interest:

For a list of bachelor’s degrees in nursing in Finland click HERE

To know more about practical nursing from the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses click HERE

For more information from the Finnish Nurses Association, check the following link HERE

Nursing degrees in Finland raise job opportunities