Good experiences from social and health care teaching pilot


The Social and Health Care Services in Finland course was carried out jointly, bringing together social services and nursing students from Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) and social work students from the University of Tampere. Both the students and the teachers found the teaching pilot to be a challenging, yet rewarding experience.

Social Welfare Sector Lecturer Marjo Harju and Healthcare Sector Lecturer Mirva Kolonen from Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), along with post-doctoral researcher Jenni-Mari Räsänen from the University of Tampere found the pilot to be educational and enlightening.

"The collaboration between the teachers from different subject areas was constructive and worked well. The pilot as a whole helped the participants to see the similarities and differences between the subject areas involved in the collaborative project", explains Jenni-Mari Räsänen.

Mirva Kolonen, who took on the task of coordinating the course, found the collaboration in the planning group to be particularly stimulating from the very beginning.

"The collaboration allowed us to provide a good and varied course for the students. The developer of the City of Tampere’s new wellbeing services, Planning Manager Sisko Hiltunen, was also involved, giving a lecture on service models of the future. The students were keen to question and challenge the speakers, and Professors Juho Saari and Pekka Rissanen in particular inspired the students", says Mirva Kolonen.

"The teaching pilot was interesting to plan and put into action. I’ve learnt a lot from my colleagues and the students. The students also provided positive feedback about the pilot", Marjo Harju continues.

That the students came from different areas of study, different institutions and different course years was both beneficial and challenging. Considering and reaching a consensus on the objectives, content and means of evaluation of the course took time, discussion and coordination. Following careful consideration, the teachers selected content that combined the areas of study and that was suitable for teaching as a jointly realised project. Based on the feedback received from students about the course, a more detailed evaluation of the course’s realisation and content, and the compatibility of the subject areas, will be carried out.

Together towards professionalism

Third-year TAMK social services student Saila Tyni found the Social and Health Care Services in Finland course to be useful. The course helped her to gain a comprehensive perspective of social and health care services in Finland, as well as to expand her understanding of the significance of social policy, legislation and the economy for the wellbeing of individual citizens. Tyni, who is studying entrepreneurship at TAMK’s Proakatemia, found the differences between public and private sector services and future challenges to be particularly thought-provoking.

According to Tyni, studying with students from the University of Tampere was a rewarding experience.

"I liked the atmosphere – the sense that we are all in the same boat, working towards becoming professionals in the social services sector. In this field of work we all have the same objective, even if we will be working towards it in slightly different roles", explains Saila Tyni.

Increasing multidisciplinarity and digitalisation

The social welfare and healthcare sector in Finland is in the midst of a major upheaval, with the sector’s service structure undergoing a major reform, as detailed here. According to Marjo Harju, those working in the social welfare and healthcare sector in the future must get used to changes and be able to react to them. Multidisciplinarity and digitalisation will be emphasised, and related expertise will be expected of newly graduated students seeking jobs in the sector.

"Workers of the future will need to have a wide basis of professional knowledge, as well as open minds and willingness to deal with different kinds of situations When changes take place, it is essential that those involved know where the information required can be found. Digitalisation will become a part of the professional skill set, alongside interaction work", says Marjo Harju

Saila Tyni also sees an increased emphasis on multidisciplinarity in the future.

"This means that developing forms of study so that we learn through team work with groups from other professions, is particularly topical. This kind of studying provides a better basis for the work of the future", assesses Saila Tyni.

In addition to the Social and Health Care Services in Finland teaching pilot, TAMK and the University of Tampere also carried out another pilot in the same sector in the autumn: Values and Ethics in Social and Health Care. The participants in this pilot were TAMK social services and nursing students and social work and nursing science students from the University of Tampere.

Photo: Jonne Renvall /University of Tampere