Doing an exchange semester was always a dream of mine. So, I started informing myself about possible exchange universities. This is how I got to know about the UEF in Kuopio. After checking the course options for exchange students, I also started a quick research about Finland. From this moment on, I fell in love with the idea of studying there. As the UEF offers many English courses which cover public health as well as nutrition topics, this university just seemed perfect for me. As a next step I had to write a motivation letter. Quite easy for me, because I already had a long list of personal reasons! So here they are (and by this time already approved by experiences of my current stay in Kuopio): experiencing Finnish lifestyle with sauna, winter sports and all kind of outdoors activities; studying with Finnish and other international students; learning more about Finnish health care and educational system; doing lots of sports at the UEF sports program ‘Sykettä’ (this is amazing as it costs just 35 € per semester and you can choose different sports classes daily).
After graduating with Master’s Degree in Public Health on 2014 from the University of Eastern Finland, I returned back to my home country, Nepal and started working in different National and International Organizations which are directly involved in improving health system. I was associated with Helen Keller International, Research Triangle Institute International for few years. Currently I am working in Nick Simons Institute, a non-governmental philanthropic organization which aims to enhance the rural healthcare services in Nepal. Under Nick Simons Foundation at New York, USA, Nick Simons Institute has been working to improve health care services to the people residing in rural areas through training to health workers and capacity building of government hospitals through hospital support program all over Nepal since 2006.
The exposure I got during my Master’s Degree in Public Health has always been guiding my professional career. It has always guided me to perform my professional duties at my best and build my future career. I am confident it will further help me to flourish my academic career in future.
After I graduated from the UEF Medical School, I decided to start an MPH at the University of Eastern Finland. This was probably one of my best decisions taken at that time. As I used to be involved with IFMSA, I was already exposed to some public health project and some very basic concept. The courses of the MPH program shaped pretty much my future and laid the groundwork of all my work in the past 20 years. Specially, the health promotion course and the public health seminars were well received by me. The MPH also provided me with the necessary foundations of statistical analysis and epidemiological concepts that I managed to apply for my PhD. The MPH program laid the groundwork to my entire professional career. The people I met, the countries I lived and the experience I gained in Public Health – nothing would have been possible without the decision back in 1999 to obtain the MPH degree.
Studying Master’s Degree Programme in Public Health at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition and Department of Nursing Science at the University of Eastern Finland was one of the best decisions I have made in my professional nursing career. The programme broaden my horizon in understanding the role of nurses in the global health arena, health promotion, nursing policies and evidence-based practices and in international mobility and migration. Nurses play a crucial role in achieving the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We can never achieve the goal to eradicate or lessen the cases of communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) without the nurses being part in the policy and decision-making process. The world’s education system is ever-changing, and the definition of nursing student is not anymore limited in the bachelor’s level but also the scope has expanded to graduate and post-graduate levels. The nursing profession is dynamic and has to cope with the demands of the healthcare system. Nurses face endless challenges may it be during endemic, epidemic or pandemic times. Constantly educating ourselves will make us resilient no matter what catastrophes will come through in the public health arena.
During my studies, I was able to meet nursing leaders and public health experts from different parts of Europe and around the world. The application of nursing science in public health became significant in raising the identity of nursing among other healthcare and allied health professionals. The education system in Finland gives you endless opportunities to show your competence and grow as a multifaceted young professional. The best part of the degree programme is being heard as a student and the different pedagogical approaches utilised by the professors and university lecturers. The experience of having classmates from the field of nursing, medicine, veterinary, physical therapy, nutrition, dentistry, pharmacy and social sciences make the learning avenue richer. The Finnish education system encourages critical thinking and constructive criticism. Finding the solution based on evidence is one thing I learned which I will carry as a nurse and an educator.
My internship in public health opened new portal of opportunities for me to advance another milestone of my nursing career. I was hired as a lecturer right after graduating from the master’s degree programme. I am currently teaching international nursing students with diverse background from different parts of the world. It is a humbling experience as I was once in their shoes chasing dreams which I have achieved. When there is a nursing shortage, I also do part-time job as a registered nurse in city district and university hospitals. The field of nursing experiences I have are internal medicine, acute care, infectious diseases, gerontology, nonpharmacological pain management and rehabilitation. Balancing both the academic and clinical experience can be very challenging, but it is a rewarding experience. Who would have thought that a young naïve guy from the global south is experiencing these opportunities which I thought were once bubble dreams?
I highly recommend University of Eastern Finland as your key pathway to understand deeper about nursing and beyond. It is the only institution in Finland that offers Master’s Degree in Public Health with specialisations in nursing science. The university has reputable global rankings in both public health and nursing science fields. In the future, I would like to pursue postgraduate studies to understand more about Policy Delphi studies and conduct research on the needs of foreign-born nurses who are working in the Nordic healthcare systems. I am also actively advocating in the empowerment of international nursing students and migrant nurses who are working in the Nordic region. They are considered vulnerable groups of the society and so their needs must be attended with diligence and audacity.
Believe me or not, I still can’t believe I am living in Finland. Although achieving these dreams weren’t easy, I have made the best decision in my life. It is my pride and honor to be part in one of the world’s best education and healthcare systems.
May the force be with me!