The language changes easily from Finnish to English in a Mundo clinical practice 

28.6.2024Marja Tomberg, Douglas Schneider, Maarit Harjanne, Sari LintukorpiNews

Cheerful and exuberant SAMK physiotherapy students open the door for teachers arriving for their final assessment at the physiotherapy centre Fyysinki in Pori. English-language degree student Julianna Pakkanen and Finnish-language degree student Riina Urpilainen completed their clinical practice following the MUNDO clinical practice model developed at SAMK. They encourage other students to engage in multilingual and multicultural cooperation.

Opiskelijat Julianna Pakkanen (vasemmalla) ja Riina Urpilainen ohjaamassa asiakas Joonas Saarelaa selkälaitteessa fysioterapiakeskus Fyysingissä toteutetussa MUNDO-harjoittelussa. Taustalla tilannetta seuraa Nina Nieminen, yrityksen fysioterapiavastaava ja harjoitteluohjaaja.
Opiskelijat Julianna Pakkanen (vasemmalla) ja Riina Urpilainen ohjaamassa asiakas Joonas Saarelaa selkälaitteessa fysioterapiakeskus Fyysingissä toteutetussa MUNDO-harjoittelussa. Taustalla tilannetta seuraa Nina Nieminen, yrityksen fysioterapiavastaava ja harjoitteluohjaaja.

The Welcome to work! project is piloting the MUNDO clinical practice with private companies in the health sector, a model based on a modular practice. It consists of students working either in pairs or in teams, with a client-oriented and holistic working approach and increased student responsibility over the course of the traineeship. The client's care, physiotherapy or rehabilitation is planned and implemented as a team effort. The role of the supervisor is to remain more in the background and monitor how the students are succeeding in the planning and implementation of the work. If necessary, he/she provides support and guidance to help them understand the issues. In addition, the MUNDO model at SAMK strongly incorporates language and cultural awareness, language learning support and multilingual and clear-language practices.

Riina and Julianna encourage SAMK students to be bold in engaging in multilingual and multicultural cooperation. "Be brave and speak using mixed language!"

Students are selected for MUNDO clinical practices from both Finnish and English degree programmes, but they may be at very different points in their studies. This is Riina's second clinical practice and Julianna's fifth. Riina compliments the internship model: with Julianna's help, she has had more courage to take on tasks related to her internship. As a pair, exchanging professional opinions and ideas and reflecting on tasks has been easier.

– Seeking and sharing information is more efficient, and English terms have been brought to mind when discussions are conducted multi-lingually.

Julianna sees the paired training as being particularly useful for language support. In language situations, the support of another student brings security, and the language is learned in a completely different way when practising with a Finnish student.

– It's great when Riina supports me in learning the language, and that I can give Riina physiotherapy advice as I'm further ahead in my studies.

This is how both students feel they have benefited. Cultural challenges have not been an issue for either student, and collaboration has started to flow seamlessly.

– Initially, the carefully agreed speaking turns in customer care situations changed during the clinical practice, so that in the end, we just started picking up on each other's speech on the fly. And we have also talked a lot about other, non-professional matters, the girls laugh.

At the beginning of the clinical practice, both students also thought about and formulated their goals and language objectives in a language agreement, which is drawn up at the beginning of the traineeship at the placement. During a MUNDO clinical practice, students always write a CV in which they describe their language skill level. In the weekly reflections and evaluations, language-related issues are also discussed. "Elohiiri and terveydeksi" came to Julianna's mind when new words were asked about in the evaluation.

The mentors get training as well

Placement mentors are also trained in language-aware mentoring so that the language perspective is present in every learning situation. Fyysinki is one of SAMK's Welcome to work! project's nearly 20 collaborating partners. It is a private healthcare micro-enterprise providing physiotherapy services in Satakunta and Southwest Finland. The owner of Fyysinki and student placement mentor Nina Nieminen has experience with international students in clinical practice. As a first-time mentor of the MUNDO clinical practice model, Nina highlights the positive aspects of the students' support for each other:

– The language would also have been more challenging without another student's direct support.

An important quality of a mentor, Nina believes, is the ability to show and explain what you are doing. Body language is particularly important in her opinion. As a student language learner, experiences with clients are important: " challenging, stressful but educational".

Welcome to work!

The Welcome to work! project implements the Human Performance Research Centre's labour and educational immigration key theme, which aims to increase Satakunta's attraction and retention of international talent. The aim of the project is to pilot the multilingual and multicultural MUNDO clinical practice model developed at SAMK, to train healthcare companies and SAMK's MUNDO clinical practice tutor teachers in language and cultural awareness. The project cooperative partners are private companies in the healthcare sector in Satakunta.


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