Dr Marjaana Suutarinen , is the CEO of University of Helsinki , Centre for Continuing Education, Finland. The University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland, an international scientific community of 40000 students and researchers. Teaching at the University of Helsinki is based on research. In international university rankings, the University of Helsinki typically ranks among the top 100. She shares insights on continuing education from her expertise in Finland with XEDGlobal during an exclusive interview on the FICCI Higher Education Summit in India.

Please share a brief introduction about your work?

I am a Educator by profession, my core work area is to train and equip medical practitioners with the needed skills and knowledge to perform their work to the best of their abilities. In this extremely competitive and advanced professional environment, an educator plays a vital role in enhancing the work capabilities and knowledge expansion among the professionals.

Currently my work is concentrated in the nursing sector where I do lot of educational, developmental and research work on a regular basis. I also invest substantial time in understanding the professional challenges of medical practitioners, especially nurses, and try to find adequate solutions through timely training and development. 

 What is the importance of Hospital Management in Finland? How Executive Education helps in addressing some of the challenges in this area?

Finland is very advanced in medical field, especially the nursing sector. For example; nurses work very independently along with physicians. Even in terms of studies also, one can do masters in nursing and PhD also. The main principle in the Finnish education psyche is that, you can also continue education while working. Continuous learning, equality in education and varied possibilities are available to develop ones skills and knowledge base all through your life. So, in the nursing courses in Finland we have students ranging from 18 to 60 yrs. Some students complete PhD in other subjects and then join nursing. We also give option to people to even switch fields, acquire the needed knowledge and shift careers.

We know that ‘patients’ are the most important component in the medical field? How can effective soft skills and executive education prepare medical practitioners to deal with patients?

Patients are always our priority and continuous training is needed for medical practitioners to serve them better. The patient is the driver and professional are helping the patient to drive. ‘Quality of the care’ provided one of the main concerns. It depends a lot on the educational level of professional. Therefore, regular short term courses are needed to keep them updated and focused in their work. Also effective communication skills need to be imparted to provide ‘quality care’ to patients. 

 What are some of the mid-level trainings provided to experienced nurses who have completed 10 – 15 years at the job?

It is important that professionals are constantly updating their knowledge and skill set. Special short term training courses for nurses in different areas like Wound care, Diabetes care, Cancer Care, Cardiac care. In my experience, Finnish nurses are very active and interested in such short courses and prefer these over full time courses.  Also, nurses here have the right to prescribe medicines too, therefore continuous updation of new researches and medical developments is essential in their daily work. 

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What are some of the common challenges medical practitioners encounter in their routine work?

Lack of enough quality staff is a major concern and the pressure on the available practitioners is always high. Therefore issues like stress management, time management, team management are some of the main focus areas. However, the leaders in the field are constantly updated and trained to address these issues. Technology is another challenge area, we are constantly equipping the professionals to adapt to newer technologies and keep up with rapid changes. Therefore the need of executive education is enormous in updating and re-equipping the medical professionals with advanced skills and right knowledge base.