Home care internship overturns prejudices

At the time of the interview in spring 2023, Mohammad Ali, Ella Kahilahti and Kandel Bhanu are doing a home care internship at the City of Helsinki as part of their studies. Ali is doing the internship in Pukinmäki, Ella in Haaga and Kandel in Vuosaari.
Home care interns
Photo: Riina Stén

“How wrong I had been”

Mohammad Ali is studying a vocational upper secondary qualification in healthcare and social welfare. Ali’s chosen field of specialisation is nursing and care. The intern’s studies are now in their final stages and, after the current internship in home care, there are only a few more courses to do before graduation.

Ali has already finished more than two months of the internship and still has a few weeks to complete. Each working day starts at 7.15 at the Eskolantie office in the local service area, but otherwise the days are very varied. Ali is not particularly fond of having to wake up early in the morning, but there is a reason why the internship focuses on morning shifts:

“My instructor recommended that I do morning shifts because that’s when most of the things related to medication administration are done. I was quite bad at them before, but I have improved a lot thanks to this internship.”

Before starting the internship, Ali had many prejudices about home care work, and even the intern’s friends wondered about his choice of internship place.

“After the first week, I was already surprised at how wrong I had been. This work is very interesting. I really like it a lot. I get to do very valuable and meaningful work and help elderly people. I feel like I could easily continue doing this in the future.”

Ali says that the atmosphere at the workplace is good, his colleagues are nice and knowledgeable and the clients seem to be happy in every respect.

“I can’t think of anything negative to say about this internship or about working in home care,” Ali adds.

“I got tired of sitting at the computer”

Ella Kahilahti, who like Ali is doing a home care internship in the spring, is studying to become a public health nurse and hopes to possibly work in health promotion in the future. Ella already has a second bachelor’s degree, but the desire to do mobile and people-oriented work inspired her to pursue a degree in health.

“I got tired of sitting at the computer. I wanted to help people and work more with other people. I was doing bookkeeping and realised that I would go crazy in that job if I just sat at home alone with a computer day after day.”

Like Ali, Ella had some prejudices about home care work, but they quickly dissipated. These prejudices were mainly related to the hectic nature of the work and the resulting constant pressure.

“I had heard that the situation in home care was very bad. It was therefore a positive surprise to find that it was not as bad as I had imagined. The situation was much better, and the days were calmer than I had thought in advance.”

Ella calls for more positive talk about the health sector in general to attract more staff to the sector.

“If people everywhere, including in the media, are complaining that there are not enough workers in the sector, it will affect your ability to cope. Having a positive attitude might just help a little. Besides, positivity is contagious,” Ella points out.

Kandel Bhanu, who is studying to become a practical nurse, also joins the discussion. Working in home care is also attractive to him in the longer term. The internship has taught Kandel many new things. He describes being nervous at first about such things as treating the clients’ wounds, but even that has become routine by now.

He is particularly pleased with his nice colleagues, the good working atmosphere and the diverse tasks.

“I could definitely see myself doing this work in the future,” Kandel says.