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Alumni story: Dr Emma Kwegyir-Afful

Tell us about your background.

I am a Ghanaian. I have a professional background in nursing and midwifery. I completed my nursing and midwifery education in 1995 and 1999, respectively. Later in my career, I obtained a First Class Honours in Nursing with Psychology from the University of Ghana in 2008. Afterwards, I was appointed as a Nurse Educator in Obstetrics in Public Health at the Public Health Nurses’ School at Korle-Bu, Accra (Ghana). I came to Finland in 2010 to join my husband who was at the time studying in the country. After months of thoughtful consideration, I decided to pursue further education at the master’s level which later led to my interest in research into maternal working conditions and the effects on pregnancy outcomes.

Which degree did you complete at UEF?

I completed my Doctorate  in f Health Sciences  (Public Health) in 2018 from UEF. I also completed International Master's Degree Programme in Public Health in 2013 from UEF.

Which subjects did you study?

Public Health

Which department, school or institute did you study in?

Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition

What made you apply for admission to our university, in the field of your choice?

I applied to University of Eastern Finland because they happened to offer my programme of choice at the time. Prior to the application, I was a Nurse Educator in a Public Health Nurses' School so I thought obtaining a Public Health degree will be a good fit for my career aspirations.

Is there a single best moment you remember from your time at UEF?

There are many good things about UEF that have linger on to date and one of them is the conducive environment for learning.

How has your career progressed since graduation?

After completing my PhD in 2018, I was desperate looking for employment and I do remember I was eager and ever ready to take up the first relevant employment opportunity that could come my way. This led to me writing about 35 job applications to different organizations and universities in different countries including UEF. However, as fate may have it, I got an employment opportunity as a Lecturer in Nursing from the University of Salford in Manchester, UK in 2019. My roles in the current post include supervision of PhD and master's theses, examiner for PhD interim assessments, module leader for master's level research methods and teaching of evidence-based nursing practice just to mention a few.

How have you taken advantage of what you learned at the university in your professional life?

Learning and conducting research during my studies in UEF have a profound positive impact on my role as module leader for research methods and teaching evidence-based nursing practice. The training I received from my PhD Supervisors at UEF has taken away potential stress and anxiety about research which is common among many people within my chosen professions.

What is the best thing about your professional life right now?

Doing what I like best (teaching) and having the opportunity to utilise my knowledge and skills based on my qualification.

What is your motto in the world of work?

"If it must be done, then it must be done well".

Anything else you would like to add?

It is my hope that Finland will one day provide a level playing field for international students in their pursuits for work after graduation so that they can give back to the Finnish society. 

Emma Kwegyir-Afful.
In the photo: Emma Kwegyir-Afful.