In a young age, Nancy Kamau, Senior Lecturer of Social Services and Health Care at TAMK, found her true calling and wanted to pursue a career in nursing. Driven by her adventurous spirit, she moved to Finland from Kenya to pursue her dream.
Embracing the differences
When Nancy arrived to Finland in 2002, she was amazed how green the Finnish landscape was.
“It was said to be the best summer in many years,” Nancy remembers.
She also immediately noticed some cultural differences. In Kenya people are more outgoing and chatting with strangers. Naturally, the lack of small talk in Finland spotted her eye.
After living in Finland for several years, Nancy says that she doesn’t see the cultural differences anymore. The Finnish culture has become part of her and she enjoys certain characteristics like individualism. She would still hope that people would be more open in Finland, more talkative and interested in having small talk.
“Finnish people are more closed, you never know what they are thinking,” Nancy mentions.
A nurse becomes a teacher
In 2002, Nancy began her practical nursing studies in Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia, which is nowadays known as Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. After graduation she worked for Helsinki University Hospital for 12 years. While she was working, she also completed her master’s studies.
In 2018, she graduated from Professional Teacher Education in TAOK. During these studies, she completed her practical training in TAMK. After graduation, Nancy applied for a teacher position and she has been working in TAMK for over a year.
“Joining TAMK felt overwhelming and intimidating, since I didn’t have much teaching experience yet. However, TAMK has one of the best support systems for new employees. Orientation was well organized, I never felt alone. There were regular meetings, where we discussed what has been positive or what kind of challenges we have encountered. There was always someone to ask questions from,” Nancy states.
Nancy’s first year at TAMK has offered challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic had brought many changes, including remote teaching.
“As a teacher I worry about my students. Sometimes students don’t have their cameras on, and I don’t know how they are doing. Where a nurse can leave from work and someone else will continue in the next shift, a teacher will have to continue where things were left off”, Nancy states.
The most rewarding profession
Nancy is excited that in the future more international students are coming to study at TAMK and the department is expanding.
“I am also looking forward to start working with international projects. I feel excited that more students are coming in. I want them to have a good experience and a lot of support,” Nancy emphasizes.
After working as a nurse for many years and now sharing her knowledge with the students as a teacher, Nancy recognizes the most important qualities of a nurse.
“Empathy is very important, you must try to feel how the patient is feeling and think about how you would like to be taken care of. It is about giving your best to the patient. A good nurse is empathic, compassionate and kind. A nurse must have good listening skills. It is about being professional all the way. Nurses are like actors in a way, if you feel different than the patient, you still have to keep your judgement and stay professional. This the most rewarding profession. At the end of the day you feel satisfaction when you have done something good for someone,” Nancy celebrates.
Text: Riikka Mölkänen
Picture: Dimitra Panopoulou-Huovila