TEACHING IN FINLAND: Q&A WITH NURSING LECTURER KIRSTY MARSHALL
Nursing academic Kirsty Marshall embraced the opportunity of teaching in Finland, while also supporting students going on placements abroad. We asked Kirsty about her time working in Finland and why she thinks international activity is important for the University.
Hi Kirsty! Tell us more about your role.
I am the Interim Assistant Director in the School of Health and Society, alongside my role as a nursing lecturer. I have been working at Salford for three years and have always been very much involved in changing healthcare to meet the needs of the system.
How did you become involved in international activities?
I found myself involved in international activities by accident as I was handed over the Finland portfolio. Since then, particularly because Finland is such an active partner, I have been able to go and teach there quite often. We have exchange students coming to Salford and Salford students going there. Because of my work with integrated care, a lot of work also came from the Netherlands, a country I have always been interested in due to the ways they tackle in an ageing population the same problems the UK is tackling. Getting involved with the University of Utrecht is enabling us to establish a research base around integrated care and we are now working on a big research bid with them.
Can you tell us more about your role as an Exchange Coordinator?
I help students find the area they are most interested in, so they can make the most out of their placement experience abroad. I do the same for incoming students: I make sure they feel comfortable and safe and they receive all the support they need throughout their placement at the hospital.
What are the benefits of taking part in Erasmus+ staff mobility?
Going into a different teaching environment and teaching students who have very different expectations challenges you and makes you look at your pedagogical approach and how you interpersonally react to students. Furthermore, you work with experts and you pick up things to bring back to the UK. You link people, you go on visits, explore how other people approach the same challenges, making sure our students are able to train and work not only nationally, but on an international scale, particularly when you think Manchester is a global city.
Why should staff get involved in international activities?
Staff should just do it! Thinking of how to make and keep a contact can be a bit scary, but it is essential that we are challenged to look at the wider perspective. It’s also super-fun! When I went to Finland, I met a colleague who then invited me to her house for dinner, and I got to experience the country differently.
What are the benefits for students?
Students gain so much from international activities. It completely changes the way they approach healthcare, the NHS, what they want from their careers, how they can influence things to change, and they also gain a lot of confidence.