Navigating the Finnish Healthcare System: A Guide for Foreign Nurses and Caregivers

Finland is a country known for its excellent healthcare system, which is highly valued by its citizens. The system is based on the principle of equal access to healthcare services for all, and this is reflected in the high standards of care provided. For foreign nurses and caregivers who are interested in working in Finland, understanding the Finnish healthcare system is critical. In this article, we will provide a guide to navigating the Finnish healthcare system, including information about Finnish collective agreements, working hours, career development, salaries, and the split between public and private sector healthcare in Finland.

Finnish Collective Agreements

Collective agreements are agreements between employers and employee organizations that regulate working conditions. This includes wages, hours of work, and benefits. In Finland, collective agreements are legally binding and cover almost all employment sectors, including healthcare. These collective agreements are highly regulated, and there are specific agreements for public and private healthcare sectors.

Since there are no minimum wages regulated by law these collective agreements specify the minimum terms and conditions for an employment to take place. The negotiations are conducted by the trade union (in the case of healthcare workers this is Tehy) and the employer association. The conditions negotiated in these collective agreements must then be applied to All employees regardless of if they are part of the trade union or not. Some notable achievements of trade unions in Finland are sick pay, overtime compensation, annual holidays, holiday bonuses and parental leave. Apart from this trade unions also fight for equality in the workplace. As Finland ranks 5th in the world at gender equality it is fair to say that they have largely succeeded with this.

Working Hours

One of the key provisions of Finnish collective agreements is working hours. In healthcare, the maximum weekly working hours are 40 hours, and any work beyond this is considered overtime. Overtime work is compensated with a higher rate of pay. This higher rate of pay is 15% extra during evening hours, 30/40% extra during night shifts, 25% extra on Saturdays, and 100% extra on Sundays and public holidays.

Sick leave is also regulated by Finnish collective agreements, and employees are entitled to full pay during illness, subject to certain conditions.

Like in many other healthcare systems shift work is the norm within healthcare here in Finland. As healthcare workers probably already know, this can have a significant impact on you. Shift work can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to fatigue, which can affect job performance and the quality of care you are able to provide. To mitigate and minimize these risks, Finnish healthcare regulations include rules on rest periods and breaks during shifts. Healthcare workers are entitled to regular rest periods, which are typically 30 minutes long, and meal breaks, which are typically 45 minutes long. This ensures that the healthcare workers get the rest they need to be able to provide quality care for patients while also caring for their own physical and mental health.

Working hours and additional compensation

Career Development

For foreign nurses and caregivers, understanding the requirements for career development in the Finnish healthcare system is essential. The Finnish healthcare system offers opportunities for career advancement, but these opportunities require education and a certain language proficiency. Finnish language skills are essential for working in the Finnish healthcare system, and proficiency in the language is a requirement for most positions.

Education is also important for career advancement, and the Finnish healthcare system offers a range of educational opportunities, including training programs and continuing education courses. Nurses and caregivers who wish to advance their careers can pursue higher education degrees or specialized certifications.

Recruits that complete our program will have attained a Finnish language level of between A2.1 and B1. This will set you on a path to success when it comes to attaining higher language levels and career development in Finland.

The Practical Nurse Apprenticeship Program

All foreign nurses from outside the EU looking to work in Finland will have to start out as so called assistant nurses. While working as an assistant nurse your employer will offer you the opportunity to complete the practical nurse apprenticeship program. This apprenticeship takes between 1-1.5 years to complete. The apprenticeship is done online alongside work and is organized by your employer. You will working and receiving your salary as normal while completing the practical nurse apprenticeship program. The program will also lift your Finnish language level to B1 if you did not already have that and give you the degree of a practical nurse in Finland.

It’s worth noting that the practical nurse apprenticeship program is just one pathway for foreign nurses to become licensed practical nurses in Finland. There are also other educational programs available, such as vocational college programs or Bachelor’s degree programs in nursing. Overall, while there are several requirements and pathways for foreign nurses to work as practical nurses in Finland, completing the practical nurse apprenticeship program is a great option for those looking to gain practical experience while working and improving their Finnish language skills.

Practical Nurse Apprenticeship

Nurse Registration

To become a fully licensed nurse you will need to register with the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health called Valvira. To be able to complete this registration you will need to provide Valvira with proof of your nurse studies, information about your prior education, work experience, and language skills. In some cases you might also be required to provide evidence of your Finnish language competence. This is because Finnish language skills are a requirement for nursing practitioners in Finland.

To attain a nurse registration after becoming a practical nurse you will need to complete top-up studies. These studies will require you to study full-time here in Finland. This is also why it is easier to attain the nurse registration once you have become a Finnish citizen.

Valvira will then evaluate your application and determine whether you meet the requirements to become a registered nurse in Finland. If accepted you will also be issued your license to practice nursing in Finland. This license will need to be renewed every five years to ensure that you still meet the requirements.

Nurse Apprenticeship Program

Nurse Registration

Salaries for Nurses and Caregivers in Finland

In the Finnish healthcare system, salaries are regulated by collective agreements and are based on factors such as education, experience, and job title. Healthcare workers in Finland are paid on a monthly basis, and salaries are paid according to a predetermined scale.

Salaries in the private healthcare sector are generally lower than those in the public healthcare sector. This is because the public sector has higher language requirements to be able to work. The minimum language requirement to work in the public sector is A2.2/B1.

Minimum salaries in accordance with the collective agreements can be found on Tehy’s website!

Public and Private Sector Healthcare in Finland

Like you have probably already realized the Finnish healthcare system is divided into public and private sectors. The public healthcare system is funded by taxes, and healthcare services are provided by municipalities and hospital districts. The private healthcare sector is funded by private insurance and out-of-pocket payments.

Both the public and private healthcare system in Finland is highly regarded. Public healthcare workers are subject to strict regulations and collective agreements, which ensure fair working conditions and compensation. However, the private healthcare sector offers a greater degree of flexibility in terms of work schedules and job responsibilities and helps alleviate the pressure on the public sector.

In conclusion, the Finnish healthcare system offers excellent opportunities for foreign nurses and caregivers who wish to work in a highly regulated and world-renowned healthcare system. Understanding Finnish collective agreements, working hours, career development, salaries, and the split between public and private sector healthcare is a good first step for any aspiring health care professional looking to work in Finland!

With Silk Road as your partner you are sure to find success in Finland! Free language training, paper work assistance and so much more! Check out all of our services here!

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52 thoughts on “Navigating the Finnish Healthcare System: A Guide for Foreign Nurses and Caregivers”

  1. Hi,
    I am Lashim Heresh Gill.i am trained Nurse Aid/caregiver.i have good working experience 14 years in hospital and home patient care.i am doing all work of patient like vitals sign medication bathing toileting change clothes lotioning on body combing hair Feeding by NG tube feeding by PEG tube dressing of wounds nebulizing steaming suctioning of tracheostomy patient carefully COVID patient care maintain oxygen level all work.i think I am deserve for this job of health care assistant/ Caregiver.thankyou

  2. Jennifer Ryan J. Tumanda

    I already booked my interview on may 21 2pm philippine time.but untill now didnt recieve the link for zoom interview. What will i do

  3. Hi!
    The interviews are conducted via Discord. When you book your time you need to be in discord and the interviewer will invite you to join one of the interview channels. If you want to conduct the interview via Zoom you need to tell your interviewer this via discord. If the case is that Discord is not available in your country I advise you to be in contact through direct message with our facebook support team.

  4. Hi!
    Yes it sounds like you have a lot of experience. We are currently reworking our requirements to more fairly evaluate working experience in the application process.

  5. I am really worried since is 1 month since after I submitted my certificate but no reply yet
    For the next step.
    What can I do per the orientation we were told that after I week of submitting the detailed form,we will get an interview.but till now I didn’ please

  6. Hi Lucy!
    After submitting the information form we need to first check your documents to make sure you are eligible to join the recruitment program. If your documents have been found to be eligible you will receive your booking link for the interview.
    1 month sounds too long to wait after filling in the detailed information form.
    I have asked our team to take a look at your application status.
    You will hear back from them within the week!

  7. I have submitted my detail documents information… But till I don’t get any information further… We were told that after submitting the form we will get an interview… Help please….

  8. Loveness Nkala

    I passed my interview on the 3rd of May and i only received an email for medicals. Its been 3 weeks now and i havent got any email about grouping. What could be the problem? I have submitted all my documents.


  9. Hi!
    Before getting your interview your documents need to be checked. We need to make sure our interviewers are only interviewing people that really qualify for the recruitment program otherwise they might be using a lot of their time interviewing people who turn out to not even be qualified to join the program. If your documents are approved you will receive your interview link.

  10. Hi Loveness.
    If you are currently located in Zimbabwe this might be the cause of delays. There are certain countries that we cannot direct recruit from due to regulations.

  11. Loveness Nkala

    Hie i am not in Zimbabwe i am currently residing and working in South Africa

  12. Okay!
    Our system seems to believe you are in Zimbabwe. I will mark this down so that you will have your documents checked asap.
    Thanks for letting us know!

  13. Loveness Nkala

    In my application my current address is South Africa not Zimbabwe although i was born in Zimbabwe. Please verify this
    Thank you

  14. Nandutu carol

    I applied my application April and I don’t see any information what can do?? Thanks

  15. Hi Carol.
    After sending your application you should have received links to our online orientations. You need to attend one of these and fill out a consent form during the orientation Only after this will you be able to continue the recruitment process. We have resent the orientation invitation to you now.

  16. Hei Simon
    My documents have been approved and I have my study kits since 19th and I been sent a link for my interview.
    I am studying and doing my tasks but I have not scheduled for interview yet.Is there a time limit to schedule for the interview since I have not completed the 8 chapters or I should go ahead and schedule for the first interview?

  17. Hi! Congratulations! Then you are a lot closer to starting your very own silk road journey!
    You can schedule your interview at a time in the future where you feel like you will have completed the 8 chapters. It is good to schedule your interview asap as it ensures you will be able to book a time that fits into your schedule. You can schedule your time several weeks in the future so you have time to complete the 8 chapters.

    Good luck!

  18. Gertrude Okaiteh

    I am very happy to have come across this process. I live and work in Ghana as a clinical assistant with 3 years experience. Working in Finland would be a big step to helping me gain a degree in Nursing. I hope am granted the opportunity.

  19. Hi Gertrude!
    If you fulfill our qualifications and are able to pass the language training program we look forward to welcoming you in Finland in the future!
    Good luck!

  20. Eveline Rosa Suze

    I am Eveline Rosa Suze interested in the Carer position, I am passionate, compassionate, patient and have experience, have Volunteering at The Cedar Foundation in the UK 🇬🇧. I am a Namibian.


    Please I am an optometrist with 3 years of experience and I wish to apply for the care job. Per my background can I apply for such? Optometrist are primary eye care professionals that are trained to treat eye disease. Though I’ve optometry as a background we are also trained in care giving.

  22. Hi!
    Sorry, we are currently not accepting optometry degrees for our program.

  23. Zanempilo khumalo

    Hi, I’m a holder of a nurse assistant certificate which i studied for 670 hours both theory and practicals. I was employed soon after the completion of the course and I’m close to 3 months working as a care assistant. Can I apply now for the care assistant post or I should wait? If I’m supposed to wait, how long should I wait?
    Thank you!

  24. Sounds great!
    You can apply now. We will be adjusting our requirements on July 1st so I would apply now. Make sure you have an official transcript of records stating the hours of study included in your certificate.

  25. Omolola Ayinla

    Good day, the link sent to my mail for my certificates upload as been banned, and I don’t have access to the link to upload my credientials .
    My email address is

  26. Hi!
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention!
    We recommend using a different email in that case and will manually update your status

  27. Hi!
    We do not accept applicants located in the Philippines. However, we have a partner in the Philippines named Topmake who you can sign up with and will undergo the same training and program as you would with us.

  28. Omolola Ayinla

    Good day, the link sent to my mail for my certificates upload as been banned, and I don’t have access to the link to upload my credientials .
    My email address is


  29. Omolola Ayinla

    Good day, the link sent to my mail for my certificates upload as been banned, and I don’t have access to the link to upload my credientials .
    My email address is


  30. Hi, l’m interested in health care assistant route.l’m a Nigerian and how do l go about it? I have my certificate and experience.

  31. Hi!
    If you would like to join our recruitment program you will need to apply via our website and join one of our online orientations. More information will be given during that orientation.

  32. And does a nurse without Bachelor of science in nursing but has a home country authorized registered nurse certificate eligible for the caregiver or nurse assistant role

  33. Hi!
    Yes as long as you have an education within nursing such as a nurse diploma. Make sure to submit your nurse registration upon sign up.

  34. Zanempilo khumalo

    Hi Simon, I did my interview on Tuesay 2 July and I passed but I have not received any email pertaining to groupings yet. What could be the cause of the delay. I am Zanempilo Khumalo.

  35. Richard Olugbenga Akinsete

    Dear sir simon,please sir S.O.S my names are Richard Olugbenga Akinsete i am certified nursing assistant working in Abu dhabi united Arab Emirates i applied since January 2023 passed my interview but now i received Email of missing hours of study of which i sent to the support team ..i graduated from global torch institute i sent my official transcript ,my basic life support license and other training certificates from my school but recently after reaching out to you on Q & A the support team reached out to me that my hours of study is missing i sent to them because at the back of my attested certificate is written my hours of study approved and issued by Development Academy for training and service center Dubai which is the umbrella body of all institute in united Arab Emirates because before you can practice in UAE your school have to send your official transcript to knowledge and human development Authority (kHDA) for approval ,permit and attestation. I have explained this over and over to the team but failed i have someone we graduated from the same school and we submitted the same document and she already started language training since. please help me look through this sir
    Thank you for your time and consideration.

  36. Hi Richard!
    I have taken a look at your documents and asked our team to re-evaluate them asap.
    You will hear back from them shortly.

  37. Zanempilo Khumalo

    Hi Simon, you haven’t responded to message yet. I submitted my documents on the 19th of June then 23rd of June I received an email that was saying that my documents were approved. I got interviewed on the 4th of July and I received an email to upload my medical documents. Since then I never received an email from Silkroad. May you please help me through.

    Thank you.
    Zanempilo Khumalo

  38. Hi Zaempilo Khumalo!
    Sadly, according to our system you were marked as not eligible and should have received an email stating this.
    We cannot accept Chilton diplomas as Chilton has told us they do not provide transcripts of records that include the hours of study in them, Hence why we have to deem all such transcripts as fake. If Chilton changes their mind and communicates this change directly to us we might be able to reconsider. According to the information we have Chilton certificates only take a couple days to a couple of weeks to complete. This timeframe is not enough to reach the 700 hours which we require people with no prior work experience in the field to have. At a full time study pace reaching 700 hours of study usually takes half a year or more.

  39. Moi , am a Ghanaian diploma midwife with 8 years experience , prior to that I community health nursing and practice for about 4 years I signed into the program with my midwifery certificate and transcript in June, went for orientation and self study kit sent for self studying. I had a message stating I was not eligible, per your new review what should I do? and also in Ghana we do general nursing before specialising in midwifery because of the clus in the new requirements a lot of midwives are not able to signin to the program. I believe the will be a review for the midwives. Kiitos

  40. Hi!
    Midwifes are now a days admitted to our program as long as they have 1 year of experience within the past 5 years of working as a nurse or caregiver. Meaning this experience needs to be not as a midwife but as a nurse or other healthcare worker working with adult patients. If you have this experience and a COE to prove it then I recommend contacting our Facebook business page and request a re review with your documents.

  41. Adeogun oluwaseyi Abraham

    Hello Simon, good morning
    I am Abraham from Nigeria, I passed my interview 3rd August 2023 after the document check. But I later received a mail on 11th August 2023 stating I should upload missing document after I have passed my interview and receive the mail for medicals. Please can I know the update on my application. Kiitos.

  42. Adenike Oyejobi

    I am Adenike from Nigeria. I’m a registered nurse in my home country and I have diploma in General Nursing science which is a 3 years program. I also have 2 years experience working as a registered nurse in medical surgical ward and Maternity ward.
    Am I eligible for Assistant nurse position?

  43. Hello Adenike! It sounds like you are eligible, at least if your diploma and experience are from the last 5 years. But of course we need to see your documents to make sure everything is ok!

  44. Peshal Khatiwada

    hi i am already in finland. but i have diploma in nursing from my home country nepal . and had experience working for 5 years am i eligible for apprenticeship program

  45. Hi!
    This depends. All of our recruits need to have had their vaccinations, a police clearance, and a Finnish language level of at least A2.1. If this is the case then we recommend you contact our support team who can refer you to the right people.

  46. Loveness Nkala

    Hie Simon
    Hope this finds you well.
    Please kindly assist.Im one of the Zimbabweans who were put on hold months ago because of documents issues.I have tried to email support to request for the list of documents that they need from me so I can resume language lessons because I am fully working in South Africa and I have all the documents to support that,I haven’t got any response ever since.Please kindly assist me.
    Thank you

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