Shortage of nurses “My 11-year-old daughter understands that I am working for her future” – Janice Tombaga was recruited from the Philippines to Finland to make up for the shortage of nurses

Janice Tumbaga, a Filipino, will soon take a screening test for a nursing assistant and then plan to pursue at least a bachelor’s degree.

Caregiver Janice Tumbaga has worked for more than a month in a service home in the Nordic region in Tampere, and the first exam for the degree of nursing assistant is already approaching.

“It shows how I assist a resident in his morning activities. It all starts with greeting, and then I help with washing, getting dressed, and having breakfast, ”Tumbaga says.

Janice Tumbaga, 37, and thirteen other Filipino nursing workers arrived in Tampere on December 10th. Another group of the same size will arrive in the spring. Tumbaga holds a degree in nursing in her native Philippines but has worked as a domestic worker in Hong Kong for the past eight years.

The employees who have now arrived in Tampere are all working in the city’s nursing homes. They are recruited by the Hong Kong office of Mehiläinen’s subsidiary Healthcare Staffing Solutions (HSS).

Foreign The recruitment of nurses to Finland is accelerating. Although Korona-time has made it difficult to hire foreign caregivers, the number of caregivers coming to Finland is growing rapidly.

Caregivers from abroad are now employed by both private healthcare companies and Finnish municipalities. In particular, the changing staffing of 24-hour care for the elderly in 2023 will create a need for new caregivers in nursing homes. The calculated dimension is rising to 0.7 per caregiver. The Ministry of Finance has estimated that 70,000 new employees will be needed in the care sector by 2035.

“This is one of the partial solutions to the shortage of nurses. However, hiring foreign caregivers can only solve part of the staff shortage, ”says Tampere’s Director of Services for the Elderly. Mari Patronen.

The HS election machine asked the opinion of the regional election candidates about the recruitment of nurses abroad:

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Mixed companies and municipalities use companies specializing in staff recruitment, such as Barona, Silkkitie or Mehiläinen’s subsidiary Healthcare Staffing Solutions, to find and hire nurses. Seure, the company’s own personnel company in the municipalities of the Helsinki metropolitan area, also hires caretakers from the Philippines for its member municipalities.

“Over the past year, about a hundred foreign nurses have arrived in Finland through HSS, and there are currently about 500 of them in training. Operations are growing strongly,” says Mehiläinen’s Vice President, Human Resources. Tatu Tulokas.

HSS has only been operational since 2020. In addition to Helsinki, its office operates in Hong Kong, where the recruitment of nurses is coordinated. So far, a large part of those who came to Finland have their background from the Philippines.

Janice Tumbaga had lunch at Tarja Tuomisto’s service home in the North on Tuesday.

Silkkitie, on the other hand, has been recruiting Filipino nurses to Finland for a long time. The first nurses came in 2013.

“Last year, only 250 Filipino nurses came through us, due to the pandemic. About a thousand applicants are currently participating in our training in the Philippines, ”co-founder of the company, a doctor Harri Haimakainen says.

He emphasizes the importance of the country of origin process. Silkkitie organizes an information session, an exam based on preliminary studies in the Finnish language, a personal interview and training for those who pass these, with an emphasis on the Finnish language and culture.

“Recently, the number of assignments by public actors has clearly increased.”

“Recently, the number of assignments from public actors has clearly increased,” he says.

The personnel company Barona has also been recruiting nurses from the Philippines to Finland for about ten years. According to the company, 80 percent of the care workers it recruits in Finland have remained permanently in the country.

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“Right now this weekend, the first group of 100 nurses will arrive in Finland. Recruitment was delayed in December due to a pandemic-related recruitment ceiling for nurses in the Philippines, ”said Barona Sote Service Manager. Ringa Tuomikoski says.

Barona aims to recruit 300-500 nurses from the Philippines and India this year.

Janice Tumbaga is satisfied with Finnish working hours.

“When the shift ends, it also ends. As a maid, I had to be available late at night, ”she says.

She lives in Tampere in the same apartment with her friend, another Filipino caregiver.

Tumbaga has been working abroad for eight years. “I’ve been away for a long time, so my family is already used to it. For example, my 11-year-old daughter understands that I am working for her future, ”she says.

Although the Finnish language is challenging, Tumbaga likes his work in Finland. On the right is Aino Nummela, a resident of the Nordic countries.

Tumbaga especially wants to praise the care home Pohjola’s colleagues. “They immediately accepted me as I am and fully included me in the ranks,” he says.

Nursing Home Service Supervisor Sanna Kauppi thanks the three Filipino nurses who came to the house.

“They’ve stumbled upon the work community amazingly well.”

“The Finnish language is still really difficult, and it will take some time before I have learned enough.”

The interview is conducted in English, but Janice Tumbaga already uses the words of the care industry in Finnish: morning wash, resident, evening activities.

“The Finnish language is still really difficult, and it will take some time before I have learned enough. At least I’m going to continue as a community nurse, ”she says.

I do that is, the position of the trade unions in the social, health and education sectors is that the recruitment of nurses to Finland as nursing assistants is not ethical. This is based on the fact that a trained and possibly long-term professional has to do work that does not match his or her training.

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“Working as a caregiver often leads to a professional impasse that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to progress to become a nurse unless the employer supports qualifying as a nurse,” says Tehy’s Head of International Affairs. Sari Koivuniemi.

Tatu Tulokas, Mehiläinen’s Vice President, Human Resources, says that HSS is open to the content of the jobs it promises to be recruited.

“We don’t start by recruiting nurses who would then be employed as caregivers. We tell you openly that the person is going to take care of the care assistant, ”says Tulokas.

According to the newcomer, the most important thing is that the person has work experience in the care or nursing field.

“It’s not appropriate to hire over-educated people. We have wanted to ensure that those who come to work can complete their studies. HSS and Mehiläinen strive to ensure that all those who come to Finland continue their studies as a local nurse and can obtain a degree, ”says Tulokas.

According to Tehy, the further training of care assistants in Finland is so far too dependent on local projects.

“Finland should have a unified and permanent path for the recognition of diplomas, where one’s own profession is quickly qualified to meet Finnish requirements and where there is very strong language teaching as part of this qualification,” Sari Koivuniemi points out.

Harri Haimakainen of Silk Road agrees with this.

“The four-year training in nursing in the Philippines is very good. Our goal is for nurses to get to work as a nurse as quickly as possible, ”she says.

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