Page updated 22.12.2019

Something new, something old – something unexpected!

Studies completed while working offer new insights and tools for your own field. At best, the studies encourage choosing a new direction for your career. It’s an opportunity you should seize, Nina Arponen encourages.

When nurse Nina Arponen was completing her Master’s degree in Social Services and Health Care at Turku University of Applied Sciences, she drove from Rauma to TUAS’ former Ruiskatu campus. Later on the studies have moved to more modern premises on Kupittaa Campus. 

– In Turku, TUAS is what I know best. I can drive here and back to Rauma with my eyes closed, Nina jokes. 

She graduated as a clinical expert nurse from TUAS’ Master School in May 2014. After the studies and graduation, a lot of water has passed under the bridges over Aurajoki: clinical nursing has changed to quality and development tasks, and Nina, who once tried to avoid performing at all costs, has become an expert who is a convincing speaker at seminars. 

What happened? 

Studies and new ideas

In early 2010s, Nina’s days working in the division of social services and health care in Rauma went by as she held independent appointments. The complexity of the job drew her to apply for Master studies.

 – I applied for the degree programme in advanced nursing practice, as I wanted to develop my self-directedness, decision-making and critical thinking. The idea was also to deepen my competence in clinical nursing, she remembers.

For Nina, who was in working life, studies at TUAS’ Master School were a natural choice. The studies were completed flexibly alongside work, and a couple of days per month, the students from all over Finland gathered for contact lessons in Turku. The learning took place through different learning and development tasks, which were tightly connected to working life. 

 – From the Master studies, I took with me the zest for reading about issues in my professional field and I notice that I follow the field much more. It was also great to have epiphanies – I felt like I could perceive entities, says Nina. 

She had a big epiphany right at the beginning of the studies. 

 – A switch just flipped in my head and I found myself to be a developer!

An expert in the right place

It has been a couple of years since the switch flipped. Finding her own strengths during the studies took Nina to the post of primary nurse, responsible for centralized appointments and triage, and to different development and quality tasks. What is left from clinical nursing are the familiar employer and random checks of children’s ear infections. 

 – Along with the studies, my understanding of my professional field has become more complex and extensive. My current job is also very strategy-oriented. It is a great benefit that I know the field and as an expert, I get to perceive different development targets, says Nina.

An essential part of the Master studies is the thesis, which is carried out as a development project at the student’s workplace, for example. For Nina, the thesis represented having the courage to step into the shoes of an expert. 

 – The thesis spawned appearances in both national and international seminars. As my own expertise developed, I was better able to justify my views. Before the studies it would have been a nightmare to speak at an event, Nina says and shakes her head.  

The Master studies have brought many new and interesting things to Nina’s career story. She warmly encourages people to apply for studies, if they’re interested in developing their competence in the field. 

 – I suggest you grasp this challenge. It really rewards you. Through the studies, I was able to do the kind of work I like and I’m happy with my own career path.