Category Archives: Social Services, Health and Sports

Biomedical Laboratory Science, Emergency Care, Physiotherapy, Nursing and Health Care, Radiography and Radiotherapy, Social Services, Midwifery, Nursing, Public Health Nursing, Wellbeing Technology, Clinical Nursing Expertise, Development and Management of Health Care and Social Services, Health Promotion

Saħħa! 3 months in Malta.

I spent 3 months in Malta doing trainee exchange, mostly at  Mater Dei hospital.  My placements were at renal unit and endoscopy/operating theaters. I  also spent two days in a private hospital called St. James, where I was learning the differences between public and private healthcare in Malta. I also got to see one autopsy at the very last day of my training, which was very interesting.

Overall the placements were interesting and I learned a lot of new things, especially of renal diseases, different endoscopic-  and surgical procedures. Mentors were friendly and almost all the nurses were happy to help and guide you.

There were sometimes difficulties with a language barrier, since Maltese tend to speak Maltese language more than English.  I was surprised, that many elderly didn’t speak English at all or very little. It was inevitable that you missed most of the small talk, which sucked.

Usage of hand disinfectant and gloves were much lower compared to Finland, basic things  of aseptic techniques were well known, but seldom applied. Fortunately, things were slightly better in operating theaters, but not perfect.

Beside the fact that there were room for improvement in aseptic techniques,  the quality of the care was good in my opinion. Nurses and doctors worked as a team (sometimes more like friends) and patient were always well taken care of. I didn’t find any hierarchical problems in their system, from which I was surprised.

I traveled around the islands a LOT. I rented a car for a total of 3 weeks and went through all the sights I could find information from. Malta has surprisingly much to offer for being such a small country, but you can see all the main attractions in one week if you rent a car.  Driving in Malta is another issue, I wouldn’t recommend it if you aren’t confident driver. Local way of driving is  selfish and careless and is very exhausting at first.

I’d definitely recommend coming to Malta for trainee exchange, it is a very warm country by climate and people. Local student (and other) groups are organizing a lot of happenings around the year so you have no chance of getting bored or lonely.

Pleasure is found first in anticipation, later in memory -G Flaubert.

Bye Muzungu!

Our group of four nursing students and three social worker students arrived in Entebbe airport in 20.9.2018 late evening. First impression after all the customs and immigration checkups was two security guards with assault rifles standing outside the main doors of the airport. At least I hope they were security guards. Soon after that our driver picked us up and we drove one-hour drive to capital of Uganda, Kampala where our accommodation and training places were located. Our first week was an orientation week where we learned about local culture, got introduced to our host university which is Clarkes International University, went to a city tour with our local guides, visited our training placements and had a dinner at our host teachers house.

 

Traffic in Uganda is like from another planet compared to Finland. It seems like there is no rules in traffic at all. Cars are doing extremely dangerous passes and Boda-bodas (motorcycle taxis) are speeding between lanes, if the road even has lanes and sometimes they drive on the sidewalk, so you must be alerted every time you are in traffic. It is not a surprise that traffic accidents are common, and a ten-kilometer drive can take two hours because of traffic jams.

 

We started our working days at eight in the morning, but usually local nurses came half past eight or nine o’clock. Concept of time is little bit more flexible here than in western countries. First thing to do in the morning was to read report books from last evening and night. At the ward family members took care of everything else than medical treatment. It seemed like someone was always sitting on a chair next to their sick relative.

Usually we spent our spare time exploring the city, training at the gym or sitting in a nice local restaurant. We also went for a safari and did some other activities like ziplining and boat cruises at Victoria lake.

Hygiene and aseptics were well known in theoretical level, but sometimes it looked like local nurses didn’t really care about it. For example, they used same cannula multiple times if they couldn’t get it into a vein at first times and gloves were used only for own protection. Of course, lack of equipment is a big problem here, so everything can’t be done as well and safe compared to Finland.

 

After all Uganda is one of the best places I have ever been. Things are so different here and everyday you see something new or exciting. It’s funny how even poor people here seems to be a lot happier than most of us in Finland. In my opinion we have a lot to learn from an African way of living.

Hello from Uganda

I have been in Kampala for about two months now and still have one more to go. The time here has gone by so fast it feels like it was only few weeks ago that i arrived. The weekdays usually go past with work and maybe going to the gym in the afternoon, and just hanging around getting ready for the next day. On weekends we usually do something like go out in the town or plan activities we could do (like go lay by the pool).

 We also had a one week vacation from ”work” and we went on a safari for a few days, wich was honestly greatest thing in here so far. It was a bit pricey but still worth every penny. Our second one week vacation is coming in couple of weeks and we are flying off to zanzibar to relax.

My practical training here is taking place in four different facilities. First two were level 3 Health Centers that offered mainly doctors receptions, I.V. and other medicinal help, small surgical procedures and different clinics. I only spent two weeks in each of them but that time was quite enought to get the hang of both places. 

The third and current placement is a level 4 Health Center. There is a lot more to do and see compared to the level 3 H/C. They have all sorts of different wards: Labour, In patient, out patient, post-natal, surgical department and a few more I haven’t been to yet. Most of my time here I have spent in the labour ward and surgical department. Both of wich have been educational as hell. 

The fourth facility im going is a privat hospital IHK (International hopsital of Kampala). This hospital is supposed to be quite ”western”, and i’m intrigued to see what is a westers style hospital in the heart of Africa.

The biggest issues so far in my practical placements have been time and the African aseptics. As a finnish person im used to being punctual and going around watching the clock, but nooo that’s not how things are done in here. People come to work around 8 or 9 or 10 or 11, it’s basically up to you. And some days people might just not come to work. This has been the biggest thing for me to learn. And as far as aseptics go, you might imagine that things aren’t done as aseptically correct as back home, be it the lack of resources or education.

For anyone interested to visit Uganda i can highly recommend it. The people are nice and helpful, living is quite cheap and the weather is always warm.

Halløj from Denmark!

It’s the end of my exchange period in Denmark, so, it’s high time to sum up what happened during these two months!
Well, I had my practical training in the town of Holbæk, which is an hour from Copenhagen by train and is just a peaceful and idyllic place. The training was a part of Biomedical Laboratory Science Degree Programme and was more profound and specialized, than a general training we had during our 3rd year of study. The clinical laboratory of the Holbæk Hospital includes several basic specialty areas, such as biochemistry, haematology as well as liquid chromatography (UPLC) and mass spectrometry (MS) systems, ect. My target specialty area was mainly clinical chemistry, but overall, I’ve been through all the areas of the lab. Also, taking blood samples was a part of every workday as a morning round, for instance.

The staff, by the way, was sooo friendly and helpful, I really enjoyed the atmosphere there. The laboratory has the agreements, according to which they constantly accept students for training and studying. It is also student-friendly for the exchange internship, as most of the staff and patients can easily communicate in English. They also have some nice traditions, such as serving fresh-baked bread on Mondays and Fridays, as well as bringing some pastry for everybody even for no particular reason 🙂

 

Equivalent to a Finnish Degree Programme in Biomedical Laboratory Science, the study program of “bioanalytiker” (dan.) in Denmark focuses more on practical skills as well as on studying theory along with practice, in comparison to Finland (my opinion!). There’s also a supervising teacher in the laboratory, who is responsible for the students’ issues and some extra education of the staff. I find it very important, that there’s a teacher right in the lab, because it definitely helps students a lot during their practical training. My supervising teacher was Lis – wonderful person! She was very helpful during the training and she also suggested a topic for the research, which I performed as a required assignment. As a result, I’ve written an article for the professional journal on this topic (the issue will be published in December).

Ok, here starts the most interesting part – I’d like to tell you about my impressions of Denmark!
The very first weekend I spent in Roskilde (30 min by train), namely in Viking Ship Museum with other exchange students from all over the central region of Denmark. In short – we were rowing just like true vikings!
Some other weekend I was visiting Copenhagen with one of my colleagues. The capital is just great and the brightest impression was the Tivoli Gardens. This is the second-oldest amusement park in the world, opened in 1843 (the oldest one is also in Denmark).

These days it was decorated in a Halloween-style and that was just amazing and really impressive.

All in all, I’m glad that I had such oppirtunity to travel and gain new experiences. It was a valuable practical and living international experience, which is quite useful to have in our globalizing world.

– Alina I.

Greetings from Cardiff!

Over a month have passed already and the time has gone so quickly! Cardiff is very nice city and the weather has been good. Not that rainy as I thought!

                              

My firs placement is medical placement in University hospital of Wales. Ward A7 is specialized in acute general medicine and Gastroenterology. There are also four infectious disease cubicles for patients who needs isolation. Ward is 33 bedded and it is separated in two parts (south side and north side). I have been working in both sides depended who was my mentor in that day.

Biggest difference to Finland is probably what student nurses can do. Students in here can’t practice clinical skills as much as in Finland. For example students can’t cannulate, do i.v. medications, catheterize or take blood samples. After all I have learned a lot.

Shifts are long (12,5h) and approximately there are three shifts per week. I like the long shifts, because then I have lots of time to travel and go sightseeing!

                              

Staff in ward have been very nice and they made me feel as part of the team from the beginning. I have really enjoyed my time in here so far!

Life in Fulda

My practical training in Fulda has taken two places, one in Germany Red Cross ambulance and other in the Hospital cancer ward. First 3 weeks i was in the ambulance. Because of language barrier I couldn’t always understand everything but that was an opportunity for me to improve my skills to read the situation otherwise, which i couldn’t really concentrate at training in Finland. Their system isn’t like in Finland, biggest difference is probably that they have to transport every patient who wants to go to the hospital. Other differences are that they don’t actually go to school for study, they study by doing practical training and more often than in Finland, the doctor shows up to the scene and does something that paramedics in Finland would do. And of course doctor arrives often with helicopter. 

One time I was able to go fly with the pilot when there was not room for me in the ambulance.

Training in the hospital has been harder. I have been more contact with the patients and even though they know that I can’t understand everything, they frustrate and give up what they are trying to say. Cancer ward is only ward in that hospital where nurses are allowed to give medicines and liquefy through the veins. Still nurses are not allowed to give blood products. Aseptics are really strict because most of the patients have low immune system. I haven’t been same kind of department in Finland so it’s hard to compare it. But besides nurses here is also working kind of doctors assistants who takes blood samples, cannulates patients and helps doctors while operations. They don’t participate taking care of patients otherwise but still works at the ward for whole shift. I have seen bone marrow aspiration many times and central venous port implant operation once. I did some training with the book and they allowed me to insert needles in the ports.

On my free time I have made awesome friends from the same building as I live. I went to Oktoberfest in Munich, and it was way beyond my expectation. There was so much more to see than just beer, even though I have never drank that much beer… Visited Berlin twice, would love to go there again and again (picture from festival of lights). Frankfurt, Kassel just day trips. This time that I have here, really isn’t enough to see these beautiful places and discover everything.

        

Time flies when you have fun, but part of me already misses Finland.

-Emilia

Greetings from Ireland!

I was really happy when I got accepted to Institute of Technology Tralee. It was exciting toknow that I am going to study abroad during the autumn 2017.

Tralee is a small town in the south-west Ireland. The dialect is pretty strong in County Kerry and sometimes it is challenging to understand the native speakers. Anyway, it is easier to understand the dialect after living in the country for a while. Studying in different language is not easy in the beginning but after all, it is really enchanting to see how much my own language skills have been improving during the exchange.

IT Tralee is smaller institute than TAMK but there was also modules of social services. My main goal was to learn English and it is quite easy when all studying and communicating are happening in English.

The Irish are not so precise with time so sometimes the class starts about 10 minutes later than it should but all students are still expected to be on time. That is the reason why the lectures feel short but on the other hand school days can be longer in its entirety. In Finland the lecturers are usually on time and also students should be. Our lectures are three hours with a break but outright our school days are usually shorter than in IT Tralee. Also the style of study is different. In TAMK we typically write a lot of essays and we have less exams but in IT Tralee they always have final exams (which remind matriculation examinations) in the end of the module and some essays or exams in the middle of the module as well.

View from IT Tralee’s window

 

We have been traveling with other exchange students and we have seen so many beautiful places during this experience. The scenery of Ireland is breathtaking in some places, even though the weather is often cloudy and rainy. Pictures tell more than my words here so I decided to add pictures about my free time in Ireland.

View from a mountain

 

It was pretty windy sometimes

The Giant’s Causeway
Titanic Belfast
Dublin Zoo

I am so happy that I had the courage to experience something like this abroad.

 

Beautiful Tenerife

I did my practical training in Tenerife. I had never visited the Canary Islands before so it was very interesting to go there. My friend and me lived in the capital of the Island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, but we also got to know many other places of the Island. Here I want to share a few places I really liked.

Teide

Teide is a volcano that is located in the middle of the island. Big area around the volcano is Teide’s national park (Parque Nacional del Teide). We made a trip to the national park and near the volcano by car. Views around Teide were amazing. We did not have the chance to go to the top of the volcano, did not book the elevator trip before. From the top it is possible to see the whole island. If I travel back sometimes, i I definitely want to go there.

   

García Sanabria City Park (Parque García Sanabria)

This park is a big park in the centre of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. There are a lot of different trees, flowers and plants in the park. There are also many beautiful fountains. We went to the park many times because it was near to our home and it was a calm place to relax for example during the siesta time. There was also a good restaurant in the park that I can absolutely recommend!

La Laguna

La Laguna is an old city in the northern part of the Island. I found it very cute and pretty place. Everything wasn’t so “big” like in the capital. It is an important historical centre and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The loveliest part of La Laguna is its old town. Thera are beautiful buildings and only pedestrian streets, so you can walk around in peace.

The eye-opening Malta

Hi!

My practical training was placed in a Maltese hospital. I had two separate placements, first one in the main hospital Mater Dei and the second one in a health care center. Both of these places were very eye-opening, but I liked the hospital more.

 

 

 

First days in the hospital were awfully confusing. A lot of things were happening, people were talking in two languages and I was trying to absorb all the information I possibly could. Mater Dei seemed massive for such a small country. By the end of the first week, I was familiar with the daily routines. However, hearing everything first in Maltese, worn me out. In addition to that, the normal working hours at the hospital were 12 hours. Although, that meant that I had only three or four workdays a week. What made everything all the more interesting, was my extremely supporting and positive mentor.

Health care centre was slower paced than the hospital. Mornings always started with blood samples and continued with wound care in the afternoon. By this time, I had gotten so used to hearing Maltese all day every day, that I just zoned out when things weren’t in English. Nevertheless, I learned so much from my second mentor as well and got to practice my skills more.

 

The health system in Malta was very much similar to ours in Finland. Some small practices in protection against infection were different but they weren’t overwhelming to me. The hierarchy in the hospital was very distinctive. However, I noticed a friendship between all the workers in the ward. They were all one big family, supporting each other.

I also liked the system that they had with the work shifts. Two day shifts from 7am to 7pm and the third shift was a night shift, from 7pm to 7am. Three days of 12 hours shifts and after that, two days off. The schedule sticks and you can plan easily ahead. In Finland the shifts change, and you get shifts for three weeks. The 12 hours were long and I was usually very tired at the end of the day.

 

During the exchange, I traveled around the main island. I got to know the culture, architecture and beautiful sights. I enjoyed the sun, hikes and small trips that you could make every day because the island was so small.

Greetings from Slovenia

Zivjo!

I did my exchange semester in beautiful Ljubljana that is the capital of Slovenia. Slovenia is an amazing country that provides great opportunities for outdoor activities, but especially Ljubljana also has a very active cultural life. I found it very easy to get to know the city and get into the everyday life there. Slovenes are slightly reserved, but always very helpful! In the picture you can see the castle of Ljubljana.

I really have enjoyed my studies in the faculty of social work. I only have two courses, as I was also supposed to do an internship while staying in Slovenia. Unfortunately the internship did not work out. But the studies I took part in have been very interesting. There are also plenty of guest lecturers who are coming to visit our faculty and so we had the change to learn more about very important topics related to social work. Our erasmus group at the faculty was really great and I learned really a lot outside of school. I shared my flat with three other social workers and sometimes our kitchen seemed to be the best place to gain knowledge!

During my exchange semester I had plenty of time to do sports, go hiking, travel or just to enjoy time with my friends. In the first weeks of my stay we went to visit one of the most famous attractions in Slovenia, the Postojna caves. Close by there is also Predjama castle. In the picture you can also see that during my stay I got to explore different seasons as in the beginning of February they had plenty of snow!

In the picture above is a city of Ptuj, where we went to see the local carnival called Kurentovanje. Ptuj is the oldest city in Slovenia and Kurentovanje is really something interesting to see. Also in Ljubljana they organized carnival even though it was a lot smaller if compared to Ptuj.

Later in the spring we did some hiking trips with my friends and also our faculty was organizing some trips for us. And of course we were travelling on our own as well 🙂 Below you can see a picture of Koper and a view from a cave. 

I can truly recommend Slovenia for studying or just for a visit! I am definitely going back.

-Emmi