Welcome to our city and university

Turku, student life and beyond!

Turku is a bubbly student city located in the beautiful west coast of Finland. Turku has been a student city already since 1640, so the student traditions are long. In fact, nowadays there is two Universities, four Universities of Applied Sciences and more than 170 field of study to choose from in Turku. ( So, there is surely something for everyone. And by saying for everyone, really means for everyone, since the students come from all over the world: about 4000 international students from 100 different countries study in Turku every year ( Thus, everyone is welcome to Turku and since you might be visiting this amazing city soon you should know some more fun facts about it right away.

As you might have already understood, for a student Turku is a place to be. Not only the atmosphere is delightful for students but also the benefits that you get as being a student! For example, student restaurants are an obvious benefit to mention. The price for one meal starts only from 2,7 euros and that includes everything. The student restaurants are located in different places, so wherever you are studying, you can find a place near to eat for a cheap price. Another advantage of having a student ID card is that you can get lower price from many activities such as movies, museums, sports and so one. Speaking about activities, until the end of April it is possible to watch ice hockey matches on the spot in Gatorade Center, so at that time get your friends together for a match. You could also go skating if you wish to and moreover there are many other sports activities to try to.

The life does not get boring around Turku for a student. Even during the normal weekdays there are many student events organized, where people get together, have a great time and socialize (and they might also drink a few beers if they wish to). The are many cozy pubs, cafes, and restaurants where it is nice to spend time with fellow students. Also, when the temperature gets warmer it is pleasant to have a picnic in a park or even study there! One huge and pretty park near the Department of nursing science is called Kupittaanpuisto, so remember to check that one out.

If you are more of an outdoor person, you might be interested in the national parks near Turku. It is easy to go there by a bus (by the way, the public transport works fantastically in Turku!), and even do a daytrip there, or if you have more time, you can stay there for a night in a tent. For example, Kurjenrahka National Park is located only 35km from the center of Turku. The park is relaxing getaway from the town and afterwards you can get back to the studies! Instead, if you like outdoors more in an urban environment, you can rent a city bike and get familiar with Turku on a bike! You can also visit the famous river boats in the Aura river while doing a bike tour. Those river boats are famous for their atmosphere on a nice sunny days and happy people on the boats.

Furthermore, if you are interested about culture, there is a lot to see in Turku. Places you should absolutely visit during your stay are Turku Castle and Turku Cathedral, which are both one of the oldest buildings in the city. You may hear some fascinating old stories when visiting these places. There are also other architectural masterpieces in the center of Turku which you cannot miss. In addition, there are multiple more museums and art galleries, which you can experience while studying in Turku. The list would be endless if all these places would be named.

Finally, as you have read there are a plenty of things to do and experience in Turku as a student and outside the student life. Hopefully, these fun facts about Turku made you interested and aroused your curiosity. Wish to see you in the nearest day in Turku!

Text: Krista Heinänen

Photos: Krista Heinänen and Nevska.

Project experiences

Working in an international project

Author: Simone Campos Silva, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Nurse educator education is an area, which is not yet in the public eye but should get more attention and interest because nurse educators are the ones qualifying and educating our nurses. The current corona pandemic has painfully shown us how important well-trained nurses are for society. This Erasmus+ project offers the possibility to further explore the important field of nurse educators. While raising awareness for an ‘under-researched’ area is of great value, this Erasmus+ project also provides a tremendous opportunity to work with colleagues from different European countries.  

This international project is my first experience working in a research project, as I finished my Master of Education in teaching at vocational schools last year. Consequently, I am delighted and excited about having the opportunity to work in such a project as a junior researcher. Through a very open climate in project meetings and the possibility for discussions, I profit and learn from highly experienced colleagues in the field of nursing education. The project meetings take place once a month via Zoom and partners are updated about the progress in different parts of the project. Being able to communicate only online without having met any of the project partners in person bears at times its challenges. However, the project meetings are the basis for reaching consensus about terms and processes. This is very important as we quickly realized how different nurse educator education is organized in different European countries.

It is particularly exciting for me to work closely with colleagues from the field of nurse educator education, as collaborating with six different countries is highly motivating. The project partners from Finland, Malta, Slovakia, Spain and the UK are all experts in this field and bring forward their country specific knowledge. In Germany, the field of nursing science is still relatively young in the academic community and a lot is still being explored and developed. Countries such as Finland or the UK have more experience in this area, so looking beyond one’s own country is very promising and can point the way to the future. Learning from other countries, cultures, and concepts as well as listening to others’ experiences is something I will always appreciate.

Finally, I am really looking forward to the moment when it will be possible to have a personal meeting with all of the partners.

Nurse Educator Education

International collaboration in nurse educator education

Dr. Pilar Fuster, lecturer in the Nursing Department-UIC Barcelona

One of my first international experiences as a teacher was on the course Empowering Learning Environments in Nursing Education (EleneIP) which was organised by the University of Turku. This course, aimed at future nursing teachers, was funded twice by the Erasmus Lifelong Learning programme as an Intensive Erasmus course. It was the first initiative to create a common learning space for future nursing teachers from different countries in Europe and focused on using social media as teaching tools as the core theme. The programme was run for the first time in June 2013.

Prior to this experience, as a student, I had undertaken the EANS Summer courses for doctoral studies, so I had some idea of what it meant to be a student and to learn in an international environment. However, the EleneIP course gave me the opportunity to share with other nursing teachers my own knowledge and the tools we had worked on at my university, which could improve the teaching competence of other colleagues. It was a truly satisfying and very inspiring experience, which I not only perceived as a teacher, but was shared by the students on the course. The participants, who came from different countries with very different academic backgrounds, highlighted the acquisition of skills and knowledge of teaching methodologies (social media-simulation-collaborative learning) and of teaching content (ethical aspects-assessment and use of digital materials-cultural and educational aspects and different health systems). In addition, they rated their experiences very positively, highlighting cooperation, teamwork and the opportunity to learn in a multicultural environment.

Participants and educators in the first ELENE IP 2013

But it wasn’t just about the teaching methodology and materials. As a personal experience it was fantastic. I shared this course with eight students who came from my university, including classmates and friends. For someone who comes from Spain, who is used to a warm climate, it was quite a challenge to get used to the cold, the long nights and the silence, to share a sauna and swim in icy water! To get to know another culture, different landscapes, a different cuisine! Exchanging stories and understanding how culture shapes our view of the world, what we say, how we perceive things, what things mean to us, to be aware of the differences and how they enrich us, was one of the most important things I took with me. It was without a doubt one of the best experiences for forging closer bonds with colleagues and making new connections!

These types of encounter lead to growth and personal and professional opportunities. In addition to gaining new knowledge, they are a unique opportunity for fostering discussion between those working in an area, in our case, to discuss the education of nursing teachers at a European level. It is also a way to grow as a profession. It helps us to open our minds to different realities from our own, to share concerns and interests and to identify best practices so that we can then share them, discuss them and put them into practice in our own institutions, thereby making improvements through experience-based learning. And not only that, this type of course creates a unique environment of collaboration and cooperation, which encourages the development of new networks, multiplying opportunities for cooperation between participants.

Dr. Pilar Fuster, lecturer in the Nursing Department-UIC Barcelona


Salminen, L., Gustafsson, M. L., Vilén, L., Fuster, P., Istomina, N., & Papastavrou, E. (2016). Nurse teacher candidates learned to use social media during the international teacher training course. Nurse Education Today36, 354-359.

Papastavrou, E., Hamari, L., Fuster, P., Istomina, N., & Salminen, L. (2016). Using blogs for facilitating and connecting nurse educator candidates. Nurse education today45, 35-41.

Project experiences

Working as an intern in New Nurse Educator-project

Anna-Kaisa Nikkilä MNSc, MSSc–student

Team University of Turku, Finland

Since autumn 2019 I have studied in a new Master’s programme Social and Health Research and Management (MSSc) at faculty of social sciences in University of Helsinki, Finland. As part of those studies an internship including research and administrative work differing from one’s own previous work experience is highly recommended. I graduated ten years ago from the department of Nursing Science at the University of Turku as a nurse educator. Since then I have worked as a nurse educator at a vocational institute.

Through social media channels I became aware of this international Erasmus+ -project in which the Department of Nursing Science at the University of Turku was starting as a coordinator led by professor Leena Salminen. Project aiming to examine the education of nurse educators, their competences and work tasks at European level and seeking to harmonize nurse educators’ education in Europe aroused my interest. I contacted professor Salminen and on that road I am now writing this blog post.

New nurse educator -project plan was accepted and funding secured in July 2020 after which I commenced in the project in September 2020. Inthe beginning of my internship I participated in the webinars organized by Finnish National Board of Education, which included excellent examples of project work coordination, project work phases, financial management -and reporting of the project. The experiences of different actors in past Erasmus projects were also introduced and making acquaintance of their successes and stumbling blocks were in particular useful.

My very first task in this project was to prepare partner contracts between the coordinator and partner organizations. For that examining thoroughly the contents of planned work packages and previously created project plan was essential to get an overview of the project. Later on I have participated in the planning of the first work package both in terms of literature search and selection and evaluation of useful instruments for measuring nurse educators’ competences. Taking care of the communication between partner universities and University of Turku has also been my responsibility together with the project assistant. Project communication was brand new issue for me when starting in this project, thus I found the instructions of the Finnish National Board of Education very useful in familiarizing my self with it. At the heart of the project work have been the international team’s monthly joint meetings. They have helped everyone involved in the project to keep up with the progress of the project and enabled them to reflect ongoing and upcoming things together.

Scientific research always involves research ethics. In particular, since the entry into force of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, special attention has to be paid to the data protection of personal data in research. In connection with the research ethics preparing the annexes to the pre-evaluation of the research ethics of the first work package of the project was challenging but instructive task.

Anna-Kaisa and Leena in a transnational project meeting via Zoom.

In today’s working life, project work skills have taken on a significant role. Although I have gained a rich work experience in nursing field as a midwife and a nurse educator I have found working in this project has enriched me with an excellent work experience in starting a project, promoting and managing it systematically–things that I can not consider to have mastered based on my previous work experience. Projects are often criticized for their temporariness and lack of dissemination of the outputs. As a potential advantage about a project taking place in an academic community I see a better likelihood in dissemination of its results. Scientific articles will be written about the outputs of this project as well. The articles remain in the databases and the information contained in them will benefit both the practical working life and the scientific community long after the project has ended.

It has been rewarding to have had a chance involving myself in commencement of this consequential project. I would like to use this opportunity to thank professor Leena Salminen and research assistant MNSc Imane Elonen of our fruitful co-operation and wish success in project work for all project participants!

© Markkanen Sami

We wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

As the year approaches its end, we wish to take this opportunity to thank our partners, our funder Erasmus+, Finnish National Agency for Education and all collaborators for this year. We want to wish you all a joyful Christmas and happy New Year 2021.


A peak to the future of Nurse Educator Education

Being a nurse educator is not a mundane task. Educators are responsible of assuring the competence of the newly graduated nurses hence there is vast variety of competencies that are required to accomplish that task successfully. The competence areas of nurse educators include pedagogical, research, communication, collaboration and leadership competence, substantial clinical competence, ethical competence and cultural competence. The educators in the field of nursing should also have competence in digital pedagogy. Furthermore, the educators need working life skills, such as self-direction, reflection and life-long learning skills. In addition, the educators’ competence requirements are in constant adaptation to meet the current and future global health issues.

Globalization is yet another challenge the educators especially in field of health sciences are experiencing. The world is changing rapidly, and prevalence of current health issues is estimated to increase due to population growth, aging and relocation. In addition, population growth and environmental issues increase risk of pandemics, such as the COVID-19. Health promotion, disease prevention, supportive environments and efficient, sustainable and equal health care systems within EU are emphasized in EU health program ( The nursing education is called to coincide these goals.

Educators have to be creative and innovative to find and develop sustainable methods to guide the students in global learning. Knowledge regarding new health issues is required before the issues have arisen, which means, the educators need constant updating of their own competence and keen interest in innovative thinking to stay one step ahead of the needs of the health care services. Ability to be innovative, requires also knowledge of historical events and understanding of social and cultural factors in regards of health and care.

In spite of the colossal efforts educators make, to stay ahead in nursing education, not all the changes are possible to predict, hence learning in higher education should focus on empowering students in health sciences to cope with the changing demands of the working life. This means, educators should be able to teach and enhance analytical thinking, problem solving, development of professional and social identity and attitudes and encouraging the students to life-long learning from the beginning of their career.

In Finland, nurse educator education as nurse education in general, are regulated. However, that is not the case in Europe. The Bologna declaration was established in 1999 to standardize higher education across Europe yet there is no common regulation for nurse educators. In addition, a recent study comparing graduating nursing students from 10 European countries, found significant differences in the competence of the students.  Hence, there is a need to harmonize the educator education to guarantee the equal education of nurses within Europe.

First in Europe, A New Agenda for Nurse Educator Education in Europe (New Nurse Educator) -project aims to take the first steps in harmonizing the nurse educator education within Europe. The New Nurse Educator is an Erasmus+ funded project implemented in collaboration between six countries and seven universities: University of Turku and University of Eastern Finland from Finland, Humboldt University from Germany, University of Malta from Malta, University of Nitra from Slovakia, University of Catalonia from Spain and The University of Edinburgh from Scotland.

The project aims to describe the current situation in nurse educator competence , education and need for continuous education in Europe, to develop, implement and evaluate a transnational educator education unit and make common recommendations for nurse educator education in Europe. This project offers an opportunity for European universities to take the first steps toward a common education program in field of nurse educator education, to harmonize and strengthen the nurse educator education and to guarantee  equal education to student nurses in Europe.

Leena Salminen, Project coordinator


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