All posts by Henna Hakkarainen

About Henna Hakkarainen

Hi! My name is Henna and I'm 25 years old nurse-student. I'm finishing my first year this spring. I enjoy exercise, nature, food, traveling and a good laugh with friends. I'm doing my 2017 spring practice in Hanoi, Vietnam which I'm very excited but also a bit nervous. This is because I've never been in Vietnam and not that long time abroad by myself. I still believe it's going to be great!

For the last time; xin chao!

The time in Vietnam has passed very fast and my time in the exchange  is going to end this week. I wouldn’t believe. The flight home came as fast as coming to Vietnam for the first time. At the same time I feel excited to go back home but at the same time I also feel I will miss my time here. I don’t know why, but at the moment I feel a bit empty and I have given my best effort for this exchange.

My last practice has been at the ICU department at the Bach Mai hospital. Everything is new for me because I have no experience about critical nursing and of course the protocol and the equipement is different in some points. I still think I have done quite good; I have been observing a lot because sometimes you don’t have any practical job to do and some days I can do more like take blood samples and feeding the patients. Here in Vietnam practicing in hospital is very different than in Finland. My vietnamese friend and a english speaking nurse student has been a huge help for me here. Most of the nurses don’t speak english so you might guess how hard it is to understand or even do anything when we don’t understand each other.


Blood goup testing


Big gas bottles on the hospitals’ yard.

On my freetime I have gone around  Hanoi and Vietnam. I have had time to travel also which is very nice. The latest I visited Phu quoc and Halong bay. Places were different but both beautiful.


Small beach bar in a quiet beach in Phu quoc.


Beautiful view from Monkey island in Halong bay.


The best view in Vietnam. 1kilometer high in Cat ba islands national park.

I think the biggest difference between Finlands’ and Vietnam practice is that in Finland everything feels organized, as a student I know what happens at the same week and month, in the practice there is someone professional to guide me. I think that exchange student who goes to Vietnam, has to be mentally orientated and very very independent, there will be a lot of cases when things won’t work as you wish so you need a looong nerves. I think the time here has also tought me a lot more calmness, I can cope with the unknown and I have learned to laugh (in my mind) to some situations that haven’t gone so well at first. But everything will be handled, it just takes more time usually.


Many kilometers long mosaic wall in Hanoi.

I hope I didn’t sound too rough but I know what I’m talking about. In my case I have done a lot of practical stuff in the practicies and also observed. I feel the biggest lesson here and in an exchange is not the practical stuff, it’s the things that happens inside, mentally. Vietnam is not an easy case, but when you handle it, you can be very proud of yourself. You have time to do practical things in Finland but nurses’ profession is a lot more and I really recommend Vietnam. Are you ready!


Halfway of Hanoi

Xin Chao!

Almost two months has passed now and I’m more than a halfway of my exchange here in Hanoi, Vietnam. In last post I mentioned that the beginning of this month I go to another hospital (which I hear, is the biggest in Vietnam). So almost one month has passed in the emergency department and it has been very interesting to see how acute nursing works in here.

I can’t say what are all the differencies between Finland and Vietnam but I feel there is many differencies between emergency departments with these two countries (I haven’t been practicing in Finland department like this).At least I know one big difference, which is the amount of people in the department. There is a bit less than 20 patient places but it isn’t rare that there is over 20 patients to be treated at the same time. Many doctors, nurses and of course students work at this department. Usually patients are being transfered to some other specific department during the same day but sometimes patient can stay few days.


Advice poster for recognizing the similar looking medicine ampoules and packages.

I have seen in this department very multiple patients with different disorders. I have also taken ecg and blood samples from the patient, put iv-lines and many other practical things. I have also had a chance to see when doctor intubates the patient. The department is very busy and hectic; very different compared to the postoperative department.  First few weeks I just observed and didn’t have so many opportunities to do things and maybe that’s because of the hectic environment.


Different kind of dead snakes in the hospital and a local ambulance.

I had four day holiday so I took a trip to Dalat, which was beautiful mountain area (1500m) and lots of nature and water. I think it was very relaxing to go there and have some peace and quiet; that you don’t find from Hanoi. I think my life has started to settle down in here but I still don’t know so much vietnamese, very hard  language:)


Cable car ride in Dalat was a bit scary but beautiful sights.

I have one more week in emergency department and after that I change to the ICU, which is not so hectic and there is more basic care. I have visited there two times. About one week and I have again four days holiday so I travel to Phu Quoc, can’t wait the beach and sunbathing!


Beautiful Dalat by day and beautiful Hanoi in sunset

Write you later,

Henna 🙂

Chao ban from Hanoi, Vietnam!

I have now been practising in Hanoi for one month and the time here has past very fast! Maybe it’s because here is a lot of new and different things to explore and experience. I’m supposed to live here for three months and this first month I was practising in a postoperative department in Hanoi Medical University hospital and tomorrow i start in the critical care unit of Bach Mai hospital.


Some injection and wound care equipment in the trolley


I have practical training from monday to friday from morning till noon. Typical day for a nursing student here in Hanoi is that hospital practise is in the morning and lectures from 13:30 till afternoon. Practise hours are not so long as in Finland but i have had chance to do many practical things during that time, which I’m very happy about!



Patients medications and medical liquids in an own box


Nursing studies last 4,5 years in Vietnam and students have a lot more practical training here because they go to the hospital for a practise already in the first year and the days are like I mentioned. Students don’t have so much theory lessons and sometimes teachers have to cancel because they have to be in a hospital performing  a surgery. Almost every teacher is also a doctor. Doctors also teach nursing students in the practice because nurses don’t have time for students from their work. My supervisor at the practise is a third year nursing student but I think she has many practical skills she can teach me very well.

Working culture in Vietnam is very hierarchical and students have to listen very carefully what the nurse and the doctor says. Vietnamese working style is  fast and nurses don’t do any basic care because that is nurse assistants or family members job to do. Everyone has a certain role.



Beach in Da Nang

In my spare time I have got to know of Hanoi and been travelling to Da Nang and Hoi An. I have planned to travel in Vietnam as much as possible. Hanoi is a very busy 7 million peoples city, traffic is a chaos because almost everyone has some private transportation and scooters are popular. In the traffic you have to be very careful because many people  don’t follow the rules. When you want to cross the road, you just walk and don’t stop.



Traffic in Hanoi



Water puppet theater in Hanoi Old Square



Street food take away in a bag

I think I tell you more next time and I try to tell you the main things but it’s impossible to tell everything because there is so many things you just have to experience yourself so you will understand the lifestyle of Hanoi! 😉

Best regards,

Henna Hakkarainen