My week again started with three early shifts, which becomes a real challenge by the third. In England I am used to doing 12 hours shifts, sometimes three in a row, which is pretty tiring. Although I do short shifts here (which are still the normal 8 hours) I find them just as tiring as I am constantly observing new things and reflecting on differences, as well as listening to everything in a foreign language. I have now got used to the ward, but still find it hard to know what I will be doing during the shift with my mentor as I haven’t quite worked out who does what in the team. I am being given opportunities to do a little more but am still the extra person.
On Friday I met with one of my mentors to discuss how I’m getting on. He read through my documents which summarised my previous placements and realised what I can do as a nurse at my level of a third year. He really wanted to enable me to do more on the ward, and explained to me the structure of the day on the ward so I had a greater understanding. This really helped me get a much clearer picture of how they work. I worked with him again on sunday morning and he let me do much more. I still wasn’t able to manage my tasks or make my own decisions about care, but it was a really good day and I felt much more aware of what was happening throughout the day and the patients medical needs. Unfortunately my primary mentor isn’t as encouraging or informative, but I am hoping they will discuss my progress between themselves and agree I can do more. I will wait and see what happens…
Finnish Friend Programme
As part of the Erasmus exchange, the University organises a programme whereby international students can sign up to be paired with a Finnish person/family in Rovaniemi who want to volunteer hosting a student whilst they are studying. I decided to sign up as I wanted to meet as many people as I can and try and understand the culture more. I sent in my application where I wrote a bit about myself so I could hopefully be paired with someone similar. On Thursday evening we all finally met our Finnish friend in a cafe at the University, which after being set out looked more like a speed dating venue! After waiting a few minutes at the table where I was placed, I was greeted by a mother (Pia) and Daughter (Saara, 10) who were very keen to meet me and get talking. Pia is certainly NOT a typical Fin- very bubbly, hardly stops talking and is not at all nervous about practicing her English. I explained a bit about what I was doing in Finland and a bit about the hospital, what I enjoy doing etc, but most of the time was spent finding out about their family and how Pia has time to do everything she does. They (Pia and her husband Mikko) have 7 children between 19 and 4 years old, both work full time and still manage to get their kids to all their activities. They have so many kids because they are part of the Laestadian Lutherin Church, which from reading a bit on the internet have found they aren’t really allowed to plan their family size, if you get what I mean. Pia has invited me along to their sunday services and learn more about their beliefs and views. I don’t think they know my beliefs so it is going to be a very interesting few months getting to know them!
Mikko is a head teacher and Pia is taking a break from her Finnish language teaching position, but currently teaches adults how to use IT technology around most of northern lapland. I was stunned at how she manages everything. Like most Fins, they have a summer cottage (which actually turned out to be a 40 bed hotel) which they rent out to groups for part of the year, but also go there as a family many weekends. Pia was very keen for me to go to their house whenever I am off, go to the ‘cottage’ with them at the weekends, meet the kids and be a part of their family. I am excited to get to know them!
We have already had the first flurry of snow for the winter, which is very early for them. It lasted about two days, and was quite exciting to start with, but once the challenge of cycling presented itself, we quickly wished it was still dry! Cycling in snow without the proper tyres is not a good idea, I had to walk some parts when going into the centre, and thank God for bridge barriers! As it is so early though it has warmed up again, and the snow has almost gone already, leaving everything very wet. Oh and it’s just started to rain again, so not much different to autumn at home!
My saturday off was spent relaxing (and writing this). I went swimming in the morning, as well as enjoying the sauna afterwards (I think I’m going to miss it when I’m back). It’s a great place to just sit and relax, and wonderfully refreshing to have cool showers inbetween sauna times. I then met a friend from church and we chatted about all number of things for about 3 hours! God’s truly blessed me with some great people here, hopefully friends for life!
A bit of a shorter post this week 🙂 Sorry for the lack of photos though.