”More than one million are more than 65 years old” – that title struck me in August. In a country where there is 5,4 million habitants the number of elder people is remarkable. I’m still only dreaming about retirement, but the title made me wonder who will take care of me once I reach that mile stone.
Soon after that piece of news I was invited to visit Rangsit University in Bangkok. Their department of nursing has had co-operation with Finnish counterparts for some years already. Teachers and students have participated training in Finland, and vice versa, Finns have enjoyed exchange in Thailand.
University’s first and second year students were pondering whether to opt for exchange in Finland, Sweden or New-Zealand – all of them being their partners. I shared with students facts about Finland, Finns and my limited knowledge about working as a nurse in Finland. Students hit me with questions about Finnish language, culture, permits and differencies between Finland and Thailand. Questions about salary, benefits, taxes and Finnish way of working made it clear that they were also eying a longer stay in Finland, maybe joining the working population in Finland.
Thailand needs also its nurses. About nine thousand nurses graduate every year, but it’s not enough. Foreign countries attract with their wages and in Thailand the private hospitals offer better salaries. Thailand’s private hospital in turn attract foreign customers. Every year about one million foreigners enjoy Thailand’s health services. Number of Finnish health travelers is said to be a few thousand.
It was really refreshing to meet young, cheerful and enthusiastic nurse students. That kind of attitude pleases also the patients.