A dream of working as a healthcare professional came true in Oulu

As a child, Abdulrahman Alwan dreamed of becoming a surgeon. Things changed, he had to leave Iraq and move to Oulu. But dreams sometimes come true in surprising ways: he now works as a Finnish speaking operating room nurse.

– Finland is the best. My new life is now here.

Abdulrahman Alwan came from Iraq to Oulu as an asylum seeker in 2015. Since then he has stayed in Oulu and feels like he has been able to make his childhood dream of working as a surgeon come true in a way. He is a few courses away from graduating from Oamk as a nurse. Before he started his studies he took Finnish courses and finished preparatory education.

– At first, the plan was to study engineering, but after I learned that you can study nursing as an immigrant and heard that in Finland there’s a shortage of nurses, I changed my plans. So, I did an entrance exam for immigrants and it went well. There was a writing and reading test, some math and an interview. And I got in.

After the mandatory six-month period of waiting for a residence permit, Abdulrahman applied to work as a construction worker. It felt great to have a contract of employment and a real paycheck. When he got the residence permit, there were more opportunities for Abdulrahman to develop himself and get an education with a degree.

The importance of support

Last summer Abdulrahman got a job as an operating room nurse in the Oulu University Hospital. During his studies he has already worked in home care service and a geriatric nursing home. Working in the operating room makes Abdulrahman feel like he has reached his goal and it suits him, since he doesn’t feel sick during operations.

– I have specialized in perioperative nursing in my studies. I am now in induction phase at the hospital. I like this job, because although operation is the last resort for the patient’s care, it also saves lives and improves their quality of life.

Abdulrahman’s colleagues have all been friendly and helped him by speaking more slowly, explaining things in different ways and being patient if he doesn’t understand everything because of the language barrier. All in all, the support from Finnish people and the teachers at Oamk has been overwhelming. That’s why Abdulrahman likes to live in Oulu.

– Oulu is a calm and quiet city. I have family and friends here and now I also have a job. My life is now based in Oulu.