In Finland, the healthcare system offers services or universal healthcare to everyone residing in the country. Finnish public healthcare is considered good quality, and their healthcare system focuses on disease prevention and health promotion.
The nursing profession is in high demand, especially right now that we are still under this pandemic and the constant need for nurses for the elderly homes all over the country. The Finnish Nurses Association, a professional organization for registered nurses, currently has 50,000 members, including public health nurses, midwives, and paramedics. This just shows the growing population of nurses in the country.
Nurses all around the country take an active role in contributing to providing solutions for healthcare issues faced by Finland. Enumerated below are the steps to become a nurse in Finland.
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Steps to Become a Nurse in Finland
1. Obtain a Qualified Degree in Nursing from a Finnish University of Applied Sciences
To become a nurse in Finland, students must receive and finish their degree in a university of applied sciences, also known as the Finnish polytechnics. A degree in nursing is a bachelor’s level degree that takes three and a half years to complete. To apply nursing in Finland, you can apply directly to a nursing program through Edunation. You have two options on where to complete your Bachelor of Healthcare in Nursing: at Metropolia and at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK)
2. For International Students, Apply to Nursing Programs Through Edunation
For international students, Edunation, a Finnish company, offers an alternative way to apply as a nursing student in Finland. It has partnered with various universities in applied sciences all around the country. Edunation offers two programs. One is the “Pathway to Finland,” which is basically a preparatory program. This will help you with your future nursing study in Finland by helping you improve your English language skills, academic skills, and even Finnish language skills to a satisfactory level, allowing you to get admitted to a Finnish university. Passing the preparatory Pathway to Finland courses will guarantee the applicant’s admission to his or her preselected bachelor’s degree programs. The second is a dedicated Finnish language course.
For the registration of Finnish Language courses and more information regarding these courses, please visit the Edunation page.
3. Achieve a Proficiency Level in the Finnish Language
Healthcare professionals must acquire the necessary and sufficient language proficiency (oral and written) to be able to perform their duties. Some universities require students to acquire a necessary proficiency level in the Finnish Language before even starting their clinical practice, which usually starts either after 6 or 12 months of your studies. But there are also some schools that do not require this proficiency this early; rather, they will arrange their clinical practices in English.
The healthcare professionals must obtain a Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate or a National Certificate of Language Proficiency issued in Finland. To acquire the Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate, this requires the applicant to at least have a “satisfactory level” skill while for the National Certificate of Language Proficiency, the applicant must have or pass the intermediate level test (levels 3-4) in the skills area.
But if one does not have any of these two certificates, they must at least have any of the following:
- A certificate from a Finnish school certifying and showing a passing grade for Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue or second language
- A statement from your employer certifying your language proficiency (including your employment details, job duties, and evaluation of written and oral language proficiency)
- A maturity test is taken in Finnish or Swedish as part of a university degree
4. Apply for Licensing
The practice of the nursing profession is restricted to licensed professionals only. People who practice nursing without any license may be sentenced to a fine or imprisonment. To become a nurse in Finland, applicants should apply for licensing in Valvira (National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health). Upon application, Valvira grants the right to practice as a licensed or authorized professional, and allows the use of the title of a healthcare professional.
For the application, the applicant can use the Finnish application form or the Swedish application form. An applicant is also allowed to submit a free-form application as long as the necessary information such as name, contact details, and the profession you are applying for are all indicated in the form.
5. Prepare All the Requirements Needed for the Application
The applicant must be ready to submit all of the following requirements for his or her application for licensing:
- Identification card or any document certifying the applicant’s identity
- Bachelor’s degree certificate or diploma
- Certificate of language proficiency. (Please refer to step number 2)
- Certificate verifying your right to practice the profession such as Certificate of Current Professional Status
- Certificate issued by an authority stating your professional qualifications
6. Pay Necessary Decision Fees and Delivery
These fees are paid by all applicants who want to become a nurse in Finland, whether they are accepted or rejected. All decisions shall be given in Finnish or Swedish. For applicants who were trained in the EU/EEA area, the maximum processing time after receiving all the documents in Valvira is four months. As for those applicants who were trained outside the EU/EEA area, processing time may take longer because the documents submitted still needs to be sent to a Finnish Institute of Education for validation of the qualifications that are needed to practice the profession. For any missing documents, a notification will be sent to the applicant within 30 days of receiving the initial documents submitted. Missing documents will be followed-up for the compliance and completion of the requirements. For the list of fees, please visit the Decision Fees and Delivery page.
7. Wait for the Decision
The decision on the practice of the profession will be issued in Finnish or Swedish. The processing period for the applicants are as follows:
- Healthcare professionals who have finished their degree and training in Finland usually take 30 days to process their application
- People who are from another EU/EEA member state applying to study in Finland takes at least 30 days of processing from the date the documents are received
- For applicants who have completed their training in EU/EEA member state and wants to practice the nursing profession in Finland, processing time takes about 3 to 4 months
- For applicants who have completed their training outside EU/EEA member state, the processing of their application takes at least four months
The processing of the licensing is on a first-come, first-serve basis. This is to ensure that all applicants are treated equally regarding where they studied and finished their degree and training.
I hope that you found this article on the steps to becoming a nurse in Finland informative and helpful. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!