Foreigners studying nursing in Finland : a study about experiences from practical placements
Mariani, Giacomo (2009)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Eight Finnish universities of applied sciences offer English taught degree programmes in nursing. The number of foreign students who apply to these degrees is increasing. Increasing as well is the population of foreigners living in Finland. Previous researches have shown that practical placement in foreign settings can be problematic due to cultural and language barriers. Foreign nursing students can be an important resource to answer the growing needs of multicultural care in the healthcare sector. The purpose of this research was to understand what problems foreign nursing students, enrolled in Finnish universities of applied sciences, encounter in their practical placements in Finland. METHOD: The sample was composed of 75 students, of which 49 were foreigners and 26 Finnish. All of them were enrolled in bachelor degree programmes in nursing, in six different universities of applied sciences. By using a questionnaire, which contained fifteen close-answer questions and two open-answer questions, information about practical placements was collected. Students were asked to give evaluations about different aspects of their practical placements. RESULTS: foreign students gave lower mean evaluations on the majority of the topics. From the open-answer questions emerged examples of situations when cultural diversity was appreciated and situations when cultural diversity was felt to be an obstacle. The main problems were due to language barriers and misunderstandings due to cultural differences. Some good examples emerged of situations where, thanks to openness of all actors involved in the dialogue, cultural diversity enhanced confrontation and became a factor that improved patient care.