In the Philippines they are highly regarded nurses, but in Finland, they are just unskilled workers. Marla Takama started the hard way, once again from zero, and went trough the Finnish version of the nurse education in her new country.
But that’s not the same as they agree with the policy of saying no thank you to the Filipino nurses.
“Why can’t the Finnish system accept our diplomas, when the Americans and the British do it without any hesitation”? The two Finnish Filipinos are asking.
And no wonder, because the patient is welcoming them during the daily life at the hospitals, Marla Takama, 48, says.
Now and then, it happens that the patients in Kauhava take an extra look or five, when they meet her for the first time. Very few react on her pronunciation, but after all, she has been living in Finland more than 20 years. But now and then, one of the patients “wake up” and deliver an extra smile back, when the happy, tanned face appear in front of them.
“Usually I am telling the wondering patient, that I am a brown angel, who just landed to take care of them. It normally works. Actually, some patience need some time to get used to me, but is has never developed in to big problems. The language is the biggest challenge, especially in the craft”.
She never learned to manage writing in finish.
“All the papers I have to fill out. Oh my dear, don’t talk about it”, she says with a big smile, despite she got a very negative surprise up on arrival to Finland.
“It was not a nice feeling to be told, that my five year long education, and my experiences as a nurse, in one of the biggest hospital in Manila, had absolutely no value at all”, say Marla Takama, who had promised her self, that she would never go back to a classroom. But at the end of the day, she got tired about the low salary, she could earn as an unskilled hospital worker.
Better time ahead
And her decision to enter the three year long education seems to pay of straight ahead.
“Soon it will be much better. As a nurse with diploma, my basic salary will be around 1600 euro. And that’s Ok for me. In the Philippines, a similar job will give approximately 300 Euros. I know that everything here in Finland is much more expensive, but as a matter of fact, many things are free, like healthcare and education, just to mention”.
Marla Takama, are one out of the eight migrants, who recently finished there education as nurses at the “Svenska yrkesinstitutet” (SYI) in the town of Vasa. And she has already been offered two different jobs. No worries there.
The group is the first, finalising their education within the frame of SYI´s three years English language practical nurse education. The interest for the new education was great. 150 applied to enter, but only 24 were accepted. And the interest for the next groups of students, starting in the coming autumn, is even bigger. 250 people have already filled out the application formulas I Vasa.
Waiting for changes
But not very Filipino nurse in Finland rush to get the new education.
Cecilia Aranoa-Storås moved to Finland back in 1996. Since then, she has been working on several hospitals, Stora Enso included. She is also educated as a nurse in her fatherland. But she has no plans to educate her self as a nurse for a second time. “Sooner or later, the finish authorities have to change their policy, and accept our educations. And I don’t think it will take a lot of time, before that happen. Don’t forget, that there is a huge demand for nurses in Finland. Many Filipinos are already here, waiting for the opportunity to work. In the Philippines, there is a though competition for the jobs at the hospitals”.
Head of the new English language based education at SYI, Headmaster Åsa Stenbacka, only have positive things to add:
“Filipino people are open-minded and humble. Fitting very well to the Finnish culture”.
The healthcare institutions, mainly the hospitals, join the club of positives. The skills in the Finnish language do not really meet the demands, though. Three obligatory courses in Finnish can hardly do the jobs to secure a proper communication between the new nurses, and their patients.