Sari's story: A nurse can have an impact and feel that the work is meaningful
My work days are very different from each other these days. They may include lectures and Teams meetings, after which I change clothes and move to the patient room to put a central venous catheter deep in a patient’s vein with the help of ultrasound.
At the start of my career, I worked as a nurse at HUS Meilahti Hospital in three-shift work. I gained experience in intensive care while working at an ICU and CCU, and as an acute dialysis RN in the intensive care unit. In the early 2000s, I worked as a research nurse at the HUCH Institute and participated in national and international research projects.
I started working for the City of Helsinki when I transferred to the Laakso Hospital in 2005. At first, I worked as an assistant ward manager. My work as a teaching nurse began during a project, but the organisation thought it was needed so much that after the project ended, a teaching nurse's position was set up and I am still in it. So I've been able to create my own position.
As a teaching nurse, I provide continued education in our hospital for both nurses and doctors. In practice, this means that
- I organise workshops in the use of medical equipment,
- I provide simulation training on CPR and emergencies,
- I work with patients, meaning I support and certify clinical procedures,
- I hold lectures and training sessions, and
- I create instructions for working on the field.
I am still directly involved in working with patients. For example, I use ultrasound to put in central venous catheters. I also visit the wards to see patients whose treatment could benefit from a multidisciplinary opinion. Doctors often get in touch with me and appreciate my thoughts.
The best part of my work is having different working days
In addition to working as a teaching nurse, I am also involved in many other things. I have organised various vocational trainings for nurses and I am involved in working groups of national congresses. I also create online courses on pharmaceutical and emergency care.
I have also acted as an expert lecturer throughout my career. In February 2021, the Chief Physician of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare asked me to hold a lecture at a webinar for professionals on the preparation for the corona vaccines. I said that I would definitely be there: I am used to organising training sessions for large groups of up to 100 to 200 people. After the webinar, I heard that more than 2,000 people had participated in the training. I don't think there will be any training events that are this big in the future!
I think that my areas of expertise are:
- managing and predicting emergencies,
- development of hospital CPR training; I have harmonised the resuscitation training of the hospitals in the City of Helsinki and created materials for the organisation,
- intravenous medication and associated equipment and methods,
- respiratory issues and aids related to their management; and
- pain treatment; related to this, I have developed the competence of nurses in the use of pharmaceutical dispensers in the City of Helsinki.
The best part of my work is having different working days. They can involve development and trainings as well as meeting colleagues and patients in the field. I feel that I can have an impact through my work, and the work community appreciates my work. I also appreciate my work being independent and flexible.
The highlights of my career have been the following recognitions.
- Innovation Award 2021 from the The Finnish Nurses Association (Covid-19 vaccine innovation, which helped get 40% more vaccines out of the bottles)
- City of Helsinki Innovation Award 2008 (creation of electronic learning materials on pharmacotherapy for hospitals)
- The decorations of the Orders of the White Rose of Finland (6 December 2021) for my work during the COVID-19 pandemic
- 10th place in the Mediauutiset’s list of Influencer of the Year in the Health Sector 2021
- Invitation to the Independence Day Reception at the presidential castle (for 2022, as the celebrations were cancelled in 2021)
A nurse has to also take care of their own well-being. In my free time, I enjoy hiking and spending time in nature. In the summer, my great passion is long-distance cycling. In 2017, I drove my bicycle from Helsinki to Nuorgam, about 1,700 kilometres. It took two weeks. In addition to exercise, I find baking to be a nice and relaxing hobby.