Welcome to the postdoctoral programme in nursing science, PDNurs!

The purpose of the programme is to further postdoctoral research and academic career of the graduates.

The duration of the postdoctoral period is generally five active years following a dissertation. During these years the postdoctoral researcher establishes his/her own research group and area of study, as well as an international network. Progressing according to the postdoctoral programme enables applying for a title of docent after the postdoctoral period.

In case of the postdoctoral programme is not suitable as a whole, individually planned and shorter postdoctoral periods are possible. Shorter postdoctoral periods can be mentored if the postdoctoral research plan is high-quality and complements to the research programme of the Department. In addition, we are willing to mentor suitable postdoctoral researchers in their application for external funding. However, we cannot guarantee that the application to the funding body will be successful.

Requirements for becoming a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Nursing Science:

  1. a doctoral dissertation that has been defended or will be defended in the near future
  2. a research plan for the postdoctoral stage (including a plan for financial resources)
  3. a career plan in nursing science

Four stages of postdoc career

Applying for the post doc programme

Applying for the programme

  1. A researcher planning his/her postdoctoral study should contact the head of the research area of interest. An academically responsible senior researcher from the Department is needed to act as a mentor of the postdoctoral researcher during the postdoctoral period.
  2. The researcher draws up a research plan in co-operation with the mentor and/or the research group.  The research plan is formulated following the instructions of the Academy of Finland including a plan for financial resources and a career plan in nursing science. The plan must include the contact information of the Department’s senior researcher (mentor).
  3. The researcher sends the postdoctoral research plan, the CV, and the list of publications via email to the coordinator of the Doctoral Programme in Nursing Science (DPNurs) who delivers the papers to the steering committee of the DPNurs. (maikan@utu.fi) The documents should be in English.
  4. The steering committee reviews and considers the postdoctoral plan for approval. The group makes a proposal to the head of the Department for the approval of the postdoctoral researcher.
  5. Based on the proposal by the steering committee, the head of the Department makes the decision on whether or not to approve the postdoctoral researcher in the Department. A decision of approval does not entail an employment relationship with the University of Turku. If necessary, the head of the Department will discuss the financial issues with the postdoctoral researcher.

Applying for a shorter post doc period

Length of postdoctoral period will be negotiated individually. The researchers interested in visiting the Department as postdoctoral researcher should:

  1. contact the head of the research area of interest. An academically responsible senior researcher from the Department is needed to act as a mentor of the postdoctoral researcher during the postdoctoral period.
  2. conduct a plan for the postdoctoral period about the aims and collaboration with the Department of Nursing Science. The mentor supports and approves the plan.
  3. prepare a research contract with the mentor. The length of the postdoctoral period should be defined in the contract which is signed by the Head of the Department.
Academic progress

The aim is that after completing the postdoctoral period, eligibility requirements for the title of Docent would be fulfilled.

The postdoctoral researcher should proceed, according to his/her plan, to contribute to the development of nursing science. Regular discussions with mentor are recommended at least yearly basis. Postdoctoral researcher is responsible for organizing the mentor discussions.

For the promotion of academic progress it is recommended for the postdoctoral researcher:

  • to participate in at least one international meeting per year (e.g. network, visit, conference). In addition, one longer-term, international working period during the postdoctoral stage is recommended. The aim is to build systematic international cooperation.
  • active international scientific output, meaning 1–3 international publications per year (in peer-refereed journals, with an impact factor and JUFO classification of level 2, at least) NOTE! To apply for the title of docent, a minimum of 20 publications are needed.
  • active national scientific output, meaning 1–3 publications in national professional journals (includes publications of the Department of Nursing Science), with the purpose of implementing the findings of the research.
  • activity in applying for research grants.
Community of post doc researchers

Academic career advancement requires cooperation and interaction between researchers. Academic cooperation may take the form of

  • an annual seminar day for postdoctoral researchers to promote peer support
  • an annual research symposium for junior researchers.

Such events are arranged by the postdoctoral researchers with the support of the coordinator of the Doctoral Programme in Nursing Science. Postdoctoral researchers are welcome to offer suggestions regarding forms of cooperation and to be proactive to develop collaboration between themselves, the staff of the Department, and other researchers as rewarding as possible to all parties concerned.

Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Turku

One of the goals of the University of Turku is to enable a straightforward and attractive research career. In the 2021–2030 Strategy, the University has committed to developing the postdoctoral phase. To promote this goal, a new webpage gathering information for postdoctoral researchers has been launched and an email list for postdoctoral researchers has been created.

The Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Turku webpage gathers information on e.g. services and funding possibilities targeted both for postdoctoral researchers employed at the University and for post docs working on a grant.

There is also a new email distribution list which aims to reach postdoctoral researchers more easily and improve the support offered to postdoctoral researchers. Postdoctoral researchers may join the list by following the instructions on the abovementioned webpage. The postdoctoral researchers employed at the University of Turku have already been added to the list. It is also possible to opt-out from the list.

See the Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Turku webpage for more information.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee

Steering committee of Doctoral Programme in Nursing Science covers also the issues regarding the Postdoctoral Programme in Nursing Science.

Steering Committee 1.1.2020-31.7.2021 

  • Riitta Suhonen, Professor, Director of the Doctoral Programme in Nursing Science (Chair of the Board)
  • Anna Axelin, Associate professor, Department of Nursing Science
  • Tuija Lehtikunnas,TYKS Hospital director of nursing at Hospital District of Southwest Finland
  • Helena Leino-Kilpi, Professor, Department of Nursing Science
  • Elina Haavisto, Professor, Department of Nursing Science
  • Anne Isotalo, Director of Education, Turku University of Applied Sciences
  • Tapio Salakoski, Professor, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • Sanna Salanterä, Vice-Dean, Professor, Department of Nursing Science
  • Jaakko Varpula, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Nursing Science

Information and opportunities


Here you can find general guidelines provided by the University of Turku, as well as relevant presentations and publications regarding postdoctoral research and/or postdoctoral career. More material such as presentations of the seminar days are available in Moodle (not public: only for official post doc researchers in nursing science, PDNurs).



Relevant publications


You can search for suitable funding bodies from these databases. Research funding specialists at the university support researchers in managing the demands of research funding.


Postdoctoral researchers in nursing science are allowed to participate in the courses for doctoral candidates (Postgraduate studies). If the number of participants in a course is limited, doctoral candidates are preferred over postdoctoral researchers.

Collaboration in UTU

Postdoctoral programme in nursing science PDNurs collaborates with the two Research Collegia of the University of Turku:

Seminar day for post doc researchers

Seminar day 2021, Scientific Knowledge Meets Humbug

Friday 11 June 2021 at 10-16 via Zoom

The seminar day is organized as a collaboration between the two Research Collegia, TIAS and TCSMT, and the Post doc Programme in Nursing Science. Postdoctoral researchers in these programmes are warmly invited to participate. The aim of the seminar day is to provide new insights on current scientific topics, as well as to network with other postdoctoral researchers at the University of Turku.

The Academy of Finland, the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies have named 2021 the Year of research-based knowledge. The theme of the seminar day reflects this: with the amount of humbug challenging scientific knowledge on different social media, research-based knowledge is now more important than ever.

The seminar day will consist of a lecture and small group discussions. All participants are invited to present their own postdoctoral research projects to peer researchers in multidisciplinary groups. In the presentations, researchers are asked to reflect on their experiences of humbug and misinformation related to their research area. The presentations should be informal and concise, no more than 10 minutes. In the afternoon, we will organize program specific events.



10:00–10:15 Welcome to the seminar day

10:15–11:15 Lecture: Professor Juhani Knuuti

11:15–12:30 Networking and informal presentations in small groups

12:30–13:15 Lunch break

13:15–14:15 Networking and informal presentations, part 2

14:15–14:30 Coffee break

14:30–16:00 Separate program for TIAS, TCSMT, and PDNurs researchers

Seminar day 2020

Building a career and applying for funding

Date: Tuesday 8th of December, 2020 at 10-16
Location: via Zoom


10:00-10:15 Opening the seminar day
Riitta Suhonen, Professor, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku
10:15-11:00 Combining research and leadership position
Heljä Lundgrén-Laine, Docent, Chief nursing officer, Central
Finland Health Care District
11:00-12:00 Postdoctoral researchers in nursing: the ups and downs of their roles, functions and careers
Hugh McKenna, Professor of Nursing, Ulster University, UK
12:00-12:30 Research and career in a university of applied sciences
Arja Suikkala, PhD, Principal lecturer, Health Care Sector, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences
12:30-13:15 Lunch break
13:15-14:00 International paths for post docs – panel discussion
Chair: Hannakaisa Niela-Vilen, PhD, Postdoctoral researcher
Panelists from the Department of Nursing Science:
Mari Kangasniemi, Docent, University research fellow
Anna Axelin, Associate professor
Minna Stolt, Docent, University lecturer
14:00-14:45 Funding possibilities to a post doc researcher in health sciences
Maria Maunula, Funding specialist, Development Services, University of Turku
14:45-15:00 Break
15:00-15:45 Building a powerful research career
Helena Leino-Kilpi, Professor, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku
15:45-16:00 Closing the seminar day – how to continue from here?
Riitta Suhonen, Professor, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Participants of the seminar
Participants of the post doc seminar day 2020


Seminar day 2019

Kohti dosentuuria

Seminar was held in Finnish

Aika: tiistai 10.12.2019 klo 10:00-16:00
Paikka: Turun yliopisto, Dentalia, ls 2.


10:00-10:30 Tervetulokahvi
10:30-10.45 Päivän avaus
professori Helena Leino-Kilpi
10:45-11:15 Dosenttitoimikunnan käytännöt
Anne Saarenpää, lääk.tdk:n dosenttitoimikunnan sihteeri
11:15-12:15 Post doc -tutkijasta dosentiksi
TtT, dos. Minna Anttila
12:15-13:15 Lounas Dentalian Koivukabinetissa
13:15-14:15 Kansainvälinen post doc -tutkija
TtT, tutkijatohtori Tella Lantta
14:15-15:45 Dosenttityöpaja*
Iltapäiväkahvit työskentelyn lomassa
15:45-16:00 Päivän yhteenveto

*Dosenttityöpajaan voit valmistautua perehtymällä Turun yliopiston lääketieteellisen tiedekunnan dosentuurin hakuohjeeseen. Halutessasi voit valmistella vaadittavia dokumentteja jo etukäteen. Työpajassa saat vinkkejä ja vertaistukea hakemuksesi kehittämiseksi.

Participants of the seminar
Participants of the post doc seminar 2019

Seminar day 2018

Post doc -ohjelmaa kehittämässä

Seminar was held in Finnish

Aika: 29.11.2018
Paikka: Liedon Vanhalinnan juhlasali, Vanha Härkätie 111, 21410 Lieto


8:30-9:00 Aamiaistarjoilu
9:00-9:10 Avaussanat
Professori Helena Leino-Kilpi
9:10-9:30 Mitä yhteiskunta ja yliopisto odottaa post doc -tutkijalta?
Professori Helena Leino-Kilpi
9:30-10:00 Tieteellisten julkaisujen arvioitsijana toimiminen
Professori Riitta Suhonen
10:00-10:20 Dosentuurin hakeminen
Apulaisprofessori Anna Axelin
10:20-11:20 Uratarinoita
Dosentti Mikko Saarikoski, professori Elina Haavisto & apulaisprofessori Anna Axelin
11:20-11:30 Keskustelu
11:30-12:30 Lounas
12:30-12:40 Ohjeistus ryhmätyöskentelyyn
Dosentti Minna Stolt & TtT Heli Virtanen
12:40-14:00 Työryhmätyöskentely
Teema: Post doc -ohjelman kehittämisideat: urakehitystä tukevan ohjelman rakenne, toiminta ja
14:00-14:30 Iltapäiväkahvi
14:30-15:45 Työryhmätyöskentelyn purku, yhteenvetokeskustelu ja seuraavan tapaamisen suunnittelu
Dosentti Minna Stolt, TtT Heli Virtanen & professori Helena Leino-Kilpi
15:45-16:00 Seminaarin päättäminen
Professori Helena Leino-Kilpi

Participants of the Seminar
Participants of Post Doc seminar in 2018

Post doc researchers

Lotta Hamari

Lotta Hamari, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Connected Health UTU, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

– An international Delphi consensus process and an implementation study in Finland  

Post doc supervisors: 
Professor Nicole Culos-Reed, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Canada
Professor Sanna Salanterä, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku, Finland  

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study are 1) come to consensus with a team of experts on exercise guidelines in pediatric oncology; and (2) to translate, validate and implement the guidelines into Finnish health care. 

METHODS: A Delphi consensus project was conducted with international experts in pediatric oncology and exercise. The knowledge translation into Finnish health care will be conducted with implementation study design including clinical mentoring, interviews and developing educational materials.  

EXPECTED RESULTS: Based on the consensus between experts in the field, the final international pediatric oncology exercise guidelines (iPOEG) and recommendations will be published. This knowledge will be translated into Finnish health care. Finally, the equity, efficiency and sustainability in physical therapy and exercise guidance improves the health and wellbeing of the childhood cancer patients. The exercise guidelines developed in this project will provide practical direction and support for individuals at multiple levels (eg, clinicians, community-based organizations, patients/families) nationally and internationally in an effort to extend and promote the inclusion of exercise in pediatric oncology.

Satu Kajander-Unkuri

Satu Kajander-Unkuri, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Health Care and Nursing Education, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Yliopettaja, Diakonia-ammattikorkeakoulu

Post doc tutkimus 2017-2022

Competence of nursing students in Europe (COMPEUnurse)


The aim of this study is to evaluate the nurse competence of nursing students at the point of graduation and competence of newly graduated nurses in early years of practice in Europe and to identify factors related to nurse competence.

Main objectives and hypotheses of the study:

Table 1. Objectives and hypotheses of the study

Objectives: Hypotheses:

1. To assess and compare the level of competence of graduating nursing students at the point of graduation in Europe based on their self-assessment

2. To assess and compare the level of the competence of new nurses in early years of practice in Europe based on their self-assessment.

3. To identify and analyze the factors (individual, organizational) related to the level of competence at the point of graduation and in early years of practice in Europe.

4. To validate the instruments used in the study

1. The level of competence will increase from the level assessed at the point of graduation to the level assessed on the early years of practice

2. There are differences in the level of competence among partner countries

3. The high level of competence has a positive connection with socio-demographics, empowerment, self-directed learning, clinical learning/ work environment and job satisfaction.





  • An international longitudinal survey design.
  • GNSs (2018) from Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain.
  • Follow-up studies 1 and 2 years after graduation (2019 and 2020).
  • The competence is measured using Nurse Competence Scale (NCS; Meretoja et al. 2004)
  • Statistical analysis

Post doc -tutkimusprojektini kohdentuu sairaanhoitajien kompetenssiin valmistumisvaiheessa sekä uran alkuvuosina (1 ja 2 vuotta valmistumisen jälkeen). Tarkoituksena on arvioida kompetenssitaso ja löytää kompetenssiin yhteydessä olevia tekijöitä. Tutkimukseen ovat osallistuneet vuonna 2018 valmistuneet sairaanhoitajaopiskelijat Espanjasta, Italiasta, Portugalista, Slovakiasta, Suomesta ja Tsekeistä.

Abigail Kusi Amponsah

Abigail Kusi Amponsah, PhD, RN, FGCNM

Postdoctoral researcher in Connected Health UTU, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku, Finland


Lecturer at the Department of Nursing, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana


Post doc Mentor: Associate Professor Anna Axelin

Implementation and evaluation of a pediatric pain educational program for healthcare providers in a resource-limited setting

Considering the negative bio-psycho-socio-spiritual effects of unrelieved children’s pain and the important role of healthcare providers, the proposed project seeks to implement and evaluate a developed pediatric pain educational program in a resource-limited setting (Ghana).

The pilot-feasibility and main trial will be designed as a two-arm cluster, randomized controlled trial with a three-month follow-up. All physicians and nurses working at two specialist children’s hospitals (pilot-feasibility phase) and four teaching hospitals (main trial phase) in Ghana will be randomly allocated into the intervention (flipped classroom) or control (lecture) group.

Outcomes will include pediatric pain knowledge and attitudes, self-efficacy, pain assessment and management competencies, documentation, satisfaction with pain management and evaluation of the educational program. Data on the project outcomes will be collected at baseline, in the immediate post-intervention and three-months after the educational program. Data will be analysed and presented using appropriate descriptive and inferential statistics.

It is hoped that by the end of this 36-month project, there will be improved pediatric pain care which will ultimately improve the bio-psycho-social well-being of hospitalized children and their family caregivers. The workload on healthcare providers and increased consumption of healthcare resources will also be reduced especially in a resource-limited country like Ghana.

Anne Kuusisto

Anne Kuusisto, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Quality of Clinical Nursing and Health Care, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Securing the continuity of care for a patient with cancer by means of advance care planning

Purpose and aim

The purpose of the study is to define evidence-based practices for advance care planning (ACP) and to evaluate their implementation and appropriateness for healthcare professionals, patients, and family members. The aim is to develop an assessment tool for ACP.

Phases Purpose Material and methods Analysis methods Substudies

Phase I
Theorerical phase

To describe evidence-based practices of ACP in terms of data content, data structure and data quality from the perspective of professionals

Scoping review

Focus groups, individual and couple interviews
Content analysis


To describe the significance of ACP for a patient with cancer and family members



Phase II
Instrument development

To develop the content and structure of evidence-based ACP instrument from the perspective of professionals, patients and family members.

Expert panels

Instrument piloting

Statistical analysis

Psychometric tests

Articles VII–VIII

Phase III
(International) Evaluation phase

To describe and compare how the information continuity of patient care is realized when using ACP


Audit of textual data

Statistical analysis

Psychometric tests




Scientific publications

Kuusisto, A., Santavirta, J., Saranto, K. & Haavisto, E. 2020. Healthcare professionals’ perceptions of advance care planning in palliative care unit: A qualitative descriptive study. Submitted.

Kuusisto, A., Santavirta, J., Saranto, K. Korhonen, P. & Haavisto, E. 2020. Advance care planning for patients with cancer in palliative care: A scoping review from a professional perspective. Journal of Clinical Nursing 29 (13–14), 2069–2082. DOI: 10.1111/jocn.15216.  

Scientific conferences

Kuusisto, A., Santavirta, J., Saranto, K., Korhonen, P. & Haavisto, E. 2020. Ennakoiva hoitosuunnitelma syöpää sairastavan potilaan palliatiivisessa hoidossa - Scoping katsaus. XVI Hoitotiede-konferenssi. Kuopio. Oral presentation accepted.

Kuusisto, A., Santavirta, J., Saranto, K., Korhonen, P. & Haavisto, E. 2020. Ennakoiva hoitosuunnitelma syöpää sairastavan potilaan palliatiivisen hoidon jatkuvuuden turvaajana – kartoittava (scoping) kirjallisuuskatsaus. Satahyvää 2020 -tutkimuspäivä 21.1.2020. Pori

Professional publications and presentations

Kuusisto, A. Ennakoivan hoitosuunnitelman monialainen kirjaaminen syöpää sairastavan potilaan palliatiivisessa hoidossa. Valtakunnallinen palliatiivisen hoitotyön seminaari. Fioca. Vuonna 2021.

Kuusisto, A. 2020. Syöpää sairastavan potilaan hoidon jatkuvuuden turvaaminen ennakoivan hoitosuunnitelman avulla. Satasairaalan Hoitotyön uutiset.

Kuusisto, 2019. A. Syöpää sairastavan potilaan hoidon jatkuvuuden turvaaminen elämän loppuvaiheen ennakoivan hoitosuunnitelman avulla. Satakunnan III hoitotieteen symposium – Näyttö käyttöön potilaan parhaaksi 4.4.2019. Pori.

Mari Lahti

Mari Lahti, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Mental Health and Technology, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Background: The staff members working in public health services and in psychiatric/mental health nursing must have the possibility for safe working environment. However, particularly in mental health nursing various risk factors, such as patient aggressive behaviour, are directed towards nurses. In psychiatric in-patient units, the occupational safety of nurses may be endangered due to aggressive behaviour of a patient who is managed by coercive measures, e.g. seclusion or mechanical restraints. Therefore, we need to study the communication during coercive measures and develop new practices to manage challenging behaviour.

Aim: First phase of this post doc study (EriTurva 2016-2018) aimed to promote the occupational safety of nurses working in psychiatric in-patient units. This was done by developing guidelines for therapeutic communication for nurses. In second phase of post doc study (TurvaSiipi 2019-2022) aim is to strengthen violence prevention by introducing the Brøset Violence Checklist and replace the traditional coercion room with a new security room-intervention, so that nurses’ safety and well-being are not compromised, but therapeutic interaction between patients and nurses increases.

Methods: In EriTurva study we used security videotape observation in seclusion rooms in psychiatric hospital together with focus group interviews among psychiatric nurses. In TurvaSiipi study we used pre and post surveys related to job-satisfaction and ward atmosphere, register data related to adverse incidents and seclusion numbers, patient interviews and focus group interviews among psychiatric nurses.

Results: In EriTurva study based on the literature review, there were only few studies related to patient aggressive behaviour towards nurses during seclusion. However, three main themes were identified: 1) management of patient aggression during seclusion, 2) nurses’ injuries, and 3) prevention of patient aggressive behaviour. Based on the security camera videotape data, patients were mostly alone in the seclusion room. During seclusion, patients acted either calmly or restlessly. In addition, they had contact with nurses but this was rather limited. Nurses’ actions in seclusion room were versatile and they often acted two by two. Nurses offered patients basic care, medical treatment, and nutritional care. They also took care of the safety of the seclusion room, discussed with the patient, cleaned up in seclusion room and monitored the patient when he or she left the seclusion room. Nurses gave various suggestions for developing the occupational safety in a seclusion room situation. They mentioned improving the physical layout of the seclusion room and developing seclusion practices, like patient-staff communication. In TurvaSiipi study results will be reported in year 2022.

Conclusion: Results of this post doc study can be used to produce further knowledge related to seclusion room situations and management of aggressive behaviour of psychiatric patients. This is important to recognize possible occupational risk factors for nurses. Results can be used in working life in Finland when developing mental health nursing practices and the occupational safety of nurses in psychiatric in-patient units.

Valérie Lebel

Valérie Lebel, N, PhD, Postdoctoral researcher in Connected Health UTU, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Professor, Université du Québec en Outaouais, 5 St-Joseph, St-Jérôme, Québec, Canada, J7Z 0B7

Project 1: Physical and emotional closeness for parents with a preterm baby in NICU

Emotional closeness is an emotional state with feelings of love, affection, or connection between the parents and infant (Flacking et al., 2016). The presence of emotional closeness is important to establish a parent-infant relationship. Physical separation of the parents from their infant is common in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and this separation has detrimental consequences on parent-infant attachment, emotional closeness, parental psychological well-being, and development of the preterm infant (Flacking et al., 2012). The development of emotional closeness, the moments when parents feel it, and the elements that promote it are not well known.

This study aims to:

  1. Describe parent-infant physical closeness, and the quality of FCC from the perspectives of both mothers and fathers in NICU;
  2. Examine if parents’ psychological well-being assessed at 4 months after the expected birth date of the preterm infant is associated with the extent or type of parent-infant closeness and the quality of FCC during the hospitalization;
  3. Describe parent-infant emotional closeness from the perspectives of mothers and fathers in NICU and examine the relationship between emotional and physical closeness;
  4. Explore father-infant emotional closeness from the perspective of NICU

This mixed design study is conduct in a level 3 NICU in Montreal, Canada. Parents are included in the study if their infant is born at < 35 weeks gestation. Both parents, only the mother, or only the father can choose to participate. Participants are ask to record in a self-report diary when they experience physical closeness with their infant and when they feel emotionally close to him, as well as their involvement in their infant’s care (feeding, pumping, bathing, diaper changing, singing, talking, reading, and other), each day, for two weeks. Parents are ask to complete questionnaires about their background information, the quality of family-centered care and their mood (depressive symptoms). As well, they reply to daily text messages questions about family-centered care. Fathers involved in the study are asked if they wish to participate in an interview about their perception of emotional closeness. Recruitment will take place until data saturation is obtained. Descriptive analyses will be conduct for quantitative data and content analysis will be conduct for qualitative data.

Project 2: Sleep and prematurity: Characteristics of sleep and effects on the well-being of parents and family

Several studies highlighted the multiple challenges families who give birth prematurely must deal with. Among other things, these families experience an alteration of their family dynamics given the prolonged hospitalization of the child born preterm and the condition of the child when he returns home (Amorim et al., 2018). They also experience a disturbance in their sleep patterns in relation to the alteration of their premature infant sleep and a psychological distress is present during and after hospitalization (Lee & Hsu, 2012; Schaffer, 2012). All of these factors contribute to the fact that parents of a preterm child have less well-being and a negative perception of their quality of life (Amorim et al., 2018) in the months following the child’s birth. If the vulnerability of these families is documented, the needs of parents about their sleep and the sleep of their infant have been little.

This project aims to:

  1. Assess the sleep patterns of children born preterm at 12 months corrected age or less, as well as sleep patterns of their parents;
  2. Assess the well-being of parents with a child born preterm at less than 12 months of age by documenting the prevalence of parents' symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress;
  3. Identify the needs of parents regarding the sleep of their preterm child at 12 months of corrected age or less;
  4. Explore relationships between needs identified by parents about their premature child's sleep, the preterm infant sleep patterns, parental sleep patterns, parental well-being, and family.

For this mixed design project, a convenience sample of 30 families will be recruit. To participate, parents must be over the age of 18, speak and write French and be the father or mother of a child born preterm at 32 weeks of gestation or less. The preterm infant must be less than 12 months of corrected age at the time of recruitment. Recruitment will take place in a neonatal follow-up clinic at a pediatric hospital in Montreal where preterm infants have long-term medical and social follow-up. Quantitative measures will assess the sleep habits of preterm children and their parents (validated questionnaires and actigraphy), assess the well-being of parents (validated questionnaires) and assess the family functioning (validated questionnaires). Qualitative data will explore the needs, lived experience and perceived impact of parents sleep patterns, sleep patterns of their premature child, and the family well-being (individual interview with each parent). Quantitative data will be analyzed with SPSS software to provide descriptive statistics and correlations. Verbatim of semi-directed interviews will be analyzed with N-VIVO software to perform content analysis.

Amorim, M., Alves, E., Kelly-Irving, M., Ribeiro, A. I., & Silva, S. (2018). Quality of life of parents of very preterm infants 4 months after birth: a mixed methods study. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 16; 178. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12955-018-1011-y

Flacking, R., Lehtonen, L., Thomson, G., Axelin, A., Ahlqvist, S., Hall Moran, V., Ewald, U., Dykes, F. & the SCENE group. (2012). Closeness and separation in neonatal intensive care. Acta Paediatrica, 101, 1032–1037.

Flacking, R., Thomson, G. & Axelin, A. (2016). Pathways to emotional closeness in neonatal units – a cross- national qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 16:170

Lee, S.Y. & Hsu, H.C. (2012). Stress and health-related well-being among mothers with a low birth weight infant: the role of sleep. Soc Sci Med, 74; 958–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.12.030.

Schaffer, L. (2012). The impact of guided imagery on sleep quality in mothers of preterm infants. California: University of San Diego.

Kaisa Mishina

Kaisa Mishina, PhD, RN, Postdoctoral researcher in Mental Health and Technology, University Teacher, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku
Senior Researcher, Research Center of Child Psychiatry, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Turku

Psychosocial health and wellbeing of people who inject drugs


This study focuses on people who inject drugs (PWID) entering a needle exchange program assessing their psychosocial health, wellbeing and use of health services. More specifically, this study explores physical health, mental health, perceived wellbeing, discrimination, substance use habits and use of health care services among people who uses inject drugs.


Mixed-method study including survey, time-trend assessment, cross-cultural comparison and qualitative interviews.


Knowledge about indicators of self-perceived psychosocial health and wellbeing as well as needs of PWID.

Information about gaps existing in our health care service system that are possibly neglecting this population.

Insight that could help to design and implement new interventions to substance use treatment that can effectively target needs of PWID and further reduce the risks associated with the iv-use of drugs.

Tanja Moilanen

Tanja Moilanen, PhD, RN, postdoctoral researcher in Ethical Health Care and Nursing, Senior researcher, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Project manager, Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo, Kuopio, Finland

Nuorten arvoperustaiset terveysvalinnat: tunnistaminen ja tuki / Adolescents’ value based health choices: determination and support

Post doc –tutkimukseni kohdistuu arvoperustaisiin terveysvalintoihin ja nuorten hyvinvoinnin edistämiseen mukaan lukien nuorten terveysvalintoihin liittyvät oikeudet ja velvollisuudet sekä väkivaltaisen radikalisoitumisen ennalta ehkäisyn moniammatillisessa yhteistyössä. Tutkimus on monimenetelmäinen ja sisältää empiirisen ja teoreettisen vaiheen. Tuotettava tieto auttaa tunnistamaan ja tukemaan nuorten terveysvalintoja monialaisesti ja siten edistämään nuorten osallisuuden toteutumista.

My post doc research focuses on value based health choices and adolescents’ wellbeing promotion including adolescents’ health choices related rights, duties and responsibilities and prevention of violent radicalization in multi-professional collaboration. This multimethod research includes empirical and theoretical phases. The produced knowledge enables identification and multi-dimensional support for adolescents’ health choices and thus the promotion of adolescents’ societal participation.

Anni Pakarinen

Anni Pakarinen, PhD, RN, postdoctoral researcher in Connected Health UTU, Senior researcher, Development manager, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Gamified interventions for Health- Development, evaluation and implementation

My research focuses on health promotion and digital interventions, particularly on serious games and gamified applications. My research approaches the topic from many perspectives; development through user-centered design process, evaluation of the usability, feasibility and effectiveness of the intervention, as well as the implementation process of digital interventions. The research aims to provide both the knowledge and methods to support the work of professionals, to promote the health of individuals and to support the use of high-quality and evidence-based digital interventions in health and social care for disease prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. The aim is also to provide information that can be used in the design and development of new digital interventions for health promotion purposes.

Heidi Parisod

Heidi Parisod, PhD, RN/PHN, postdoctoral researcher in Connected Health UTU, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Developing evidence-based adolescents' health promotion and nursing practices (ENG)

The purpose of my post doc research is to increase understanding on children's and adolescents' health promotion and digital interventions as well as explore and further develop evidence-based nursing practices from different perspectives.

Developing evidence-based adolescents' health promotion and nursing practices (FIN)

Post doc -tutkimusprojektini kohdentuvat lasten ja nuorten terveyden edistämiseen, digitaalisiin interventioihin sekä näyttöön perustuvaan hoitotyöhön eri näkökulmista.

Laura-Maria Peltonen

Laura-Maria Peltonen, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Connected Health UTU, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Smart healthcare management

Digitalisation shows great potential in supporting the management of health services. However, health professionals on different levels have reported dissatisfaction with contemporary information systems available. There is only little evidence on the impact of systems to support information management in health services from a managerial perspective, with a focus on professionals work, care processes and patient outcomes. This project explores to explain the impact of information management practices on professionals’ work and delivered care. The findings can be used to improve information management to support professionals’ decision-making on different levels in health organisations.

Marita Ritmala-Castrén

Marita Ritmala-Castrén, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Quality of Clinical Nursing and Health Care, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Patient Centred Sleep Support (ENG)


to improve patients’ quality of sleep by developing sleep assessment methods and interventions to enhance patients’ sleep quality in the ICU and on hospital wards


  • to test sleep assessment instruments used for ICU patients
  • to develop and test the Individualised sleep promotion model
  • to evaluate the model’s impact on the quality of ICU patients’ sleep
  • to improve nurses’ knowledge of sleep promotion with educational intervention


  • Different methods for sleep evaluation have been and will be used in different populations and the psychometric evaluations will be performed
  • Individualised sleep promotion model has been developed and is being tested in different ICU settings, and later on wards
  • Nurses’ educational program will be developed and its effect on nurses’ knowledge of sleep promotion will be tested

Research team

  • Marita Ritmala-Castrén, PhD, principal investigator, Post doc researcher, University of Turku, Department of Nursing Science, ICU Advanced Practice Nurse, Magnet Program Director, Helsinki University Hospital, Nursing Administration
  • Anna Axelin, Associate Professor, PhD, University of Turku, Department of Nursing Science
  • Marion Mitchell, Associate Professor, PhD, Griffith University and Princess Alexandra Hospital, Australia
  • Helena Leino-Kilpi, Professor, PhD, University of Turku, Department of Nursing Science, Director of Nursing, Turku University Hospital

Patient Centred Sleep Support (FIN)

Tämän tutkimuksen tarkoituksena on tehohoidossa olevien potilaiden toipumisen edistäminen tuottamalla yksilöity unen tukemisen menetelmä potilaiden unen tukemiseen. Potilaiden unen laatu vaihtelee suuresti eri potilaiden välillä ja suuri osa potilaista nukkuu todella huonosti tehohoidon aikana. Univaje heikentää muun muassa immuniteettia, rasittaa verenkiertoa, hengitystä, aineenvaihduntaa ja jaksamista ja laskee mielialaa. Näin ollen voidaan ajatella univajeen olevan haitallista myös tehohoidossa olevan potilaan toipumiselle. Näyttö potilaiden unen tukemiseksi kehitettyjen interventioiden tehosta on varsin vähäistä, osin ehkä johtuen potilaiden yksilöllisistä tarpeista.

Tutkimuksessa on luotu yksilöllinen unen tukemisen malli ja siihen liittyvä unianamneesi-instrumentti perustuen aikaisempaan tutkimukseen ja terveiltä kotona nukkujilta (n=114) kerättyyn aineistoon, joka analysoitiin tehohoitotyön asiantuntijapaneelin (n=7) avulla.

Syksyn 2018 – kevään 2020 aikana, on tutkittu, miten ”Potilaan yksilöity unen tukeminen” -toimintamallin käyttö (interventio) vaikuttaa potilaan unen laatuun ja toipumiseen. Aineisto on kerätty pretest-posttest asetelmalla HUS:n kahdella teho-osastolla, jotka satunnaistettiin interventio- ja kontrolliosastoiksi. Potilaiden unen laatua mitattiin RCSQ-mittarilla (potilaat ja yöhoitajat) sekä Emfit QS monitorointilaitteella. Ympäristön valoisuus ja melutaso kontrolloitiin mittaamalla ja yön aikaisten hoitotoimien useus ja tiheys analysoimalla hoitajien dokumentoinnit. Mukaan otettiin aikuiset, orientoituneet potilaat, joilla ei ole todettua neurologista vauriota tai diagnosoitua unihäiriötä. Unen laadun paranemisen vaikutuksen analysoimiseksi kerättiin tiedot potilaiden hoitoajasta ja sekavuudesta.

Interventio-osastoilla työskentelevät hoitajat (n=81) koulutettiin unen tukemiseen ja arviointiin 14 sisällöltään samanlaisessa työpajassa. Hoitajien tietoa unen merkityksestä ja tukemisesta mitattiin tietotestillä ennen koulutusta, välittömästi koulutuksen jälkeen ja 6-8 kk intervention käyttöönoton jälkeen tietotason pysyvyyden selvittämiseksi.

Interventio-osastolla potilaiden unta on tuettu ”Potilaan yksilöity unen tukeminen” -toimintamallin mukaisesti. Kontrolliosastolla potilaita on hoidettu normaalin käytännön mukaan. Interventio-osaston potilailta kerättiin myös data intervention toteutumisesta. Aineiston keruu jouduttiin keskeyttämään kontrolliosaston siirtyessä hoitamaan vain COVID-19 potilaita, joten sieltä data jäi puuttumaan yhdeksältä potilaalta. Interventio-osastolta saatiin tarvittava aineisto. Koko aineistoa analysoidaan parhaillaan.

Evanthia Sakellari

Evanthia Sakellari, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Empowering Patient Education (EPE), Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Adolescents’ mental health needs assessment in the community

The aim of the study is to assess the adolescents’ mental health needs, determine the factors that are connected with those needs and further, identify the resources they use in order to address those needs. The ultimate goal is to assist the health professionals to promote mental health among adolescents in different European countries. Thus, the study will provide a framework to gain a better understanding of the mental health needs among adolescents. The findings of this study will have scientific as well as societal impact within community health for adolescents.

Virpi Sulosaari

Virpi Sulosaari, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Quality of Clinical Nursing and Health Care, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Yliopettaja, Turku AMK, Executive Board Member European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS), Chair of EONS Communication Working Group

Post doc Tutkimus 2017 – 2022

Oncology nursing competence of cancer nurses

Cancer is a major disease increasing internationally pressure on all relevant health services. The present and future health workforce provides health services for increasingly complex health issues. Nurses are the largest health care profession responsible of patients care.  Cancer nurses play a central role in caring for individuals diagnosed and living with and beyond cancer. Cancer nurses provide essential nursing care, patient, family and community education and support, administer, monitor and evaluate treatment outcomes, identify and manage complications, provide supportive and palliative care, and collaborate on clinical research

The care the nurses are delivering requires special competences, including medication competence. European education of cancer nurses need to be based on competence requirements. Thus, there little agreement about the role of the cancer nurse and what training or education elements are important for the continued growth of the profession (Cambell et al. 2017). Most of the descriptions of cancer nurses’ oncology nursing competence are published by health care organisations such as hospitals or foundations or the requirements are embedded into curriculum description.

Therefore, this post- doctoral research program focuses on oncology nursing competence of cancer nurses b) cancer nursing education. The objectives of the research program is to enhance the development of cancer nurses oncology nursing competence, to develop oncology nursing education in undergraduate and postgraduate level and to make visible the oncology nursing competence and clinical career pathways of cancer nurses.   The purposes of this research program are 1) to describe the oncology nurses competence, 2) develop instrument to assess oncology nursing competence of cancer nurses and 3) evaluate oncology nursing competence of cancer nurses and 4) evaluate the current education on field of cancer nursing.

In the phase I oncology nursing competence is defined by a systematic review and survey results on perceptions of people with cancer on cancer nursing. In the phase II , instrument is developed through Delphi panel method and the instrument content is assessed by nurses working in cancer care. In the phase III, oncology nursing competence of cancer nurses and cancer nursing education will be assessed in three countries.

”Syöpäsairaanhoitajan kompetenssi - erityisosaaminen syöpäpotilaan hoitotyössä”

Syöpä on yleisin kuolinsyy maailmassa, 14 miljoonaa uutta syöpätapausta todetaan vuosittain ja niistä noin puolet johtaa potilaan kuolemaan. Samaan aikaan hoidon tulokset ovat parantuneet ja syöpä on sairausryhmänä nykyisin keskeinen osa kroonisia (NCD) sairauksia. Hoitojen tuloksissa ja kuolleisuudessa on kuitenkin eroja maiden välillä Suomen kuuluessa hoitotuloksiltaan kärkimaihin. Tällä hetkellä joka kolmas suomalainen sairastuu syöpään ja yli puolet heistä paranee. Syöpään on arvioitu sairastuvan lähivuosina jo yli 33 000 ihmistä vuosittain. Suomessa elää kaikkiaan yli 260 000 syövän jossain elämänsä vaiheessa sairastunutta ihmistä. Syöpä sairautena onkin yksi kansanterveydellisesti ja taloudellisesti merkittävä haaste.   Tarve syövän hoidolle ja hoidon osaajille on lisääntynyt. Syöpäpotilaan hoito- ja palvelukokonaisuudessa sairaanhoitajat ovat yksi keskeinen ammattiryhmä, joiden roolia pidetään kansainvälisesti keskeisenä hoidon toteutuksessa ja sen vaikuttavuudessa.   Yhtenä haasteena vaikuttavuuden arvioinnissa on syöpähoitotyön koulutuksen kirjavuus sairaanhoitajien perus- ja, erikoistumiskoulutuksessa sekä ylemmissä korkeakoulututkinnoissa.

Syöpäpotilaan hoitotyön koulutuksen tulisi perustua osaamisvaatimuksiin. Syöpäsairaanhoitajan kompetenssikuvauksia tai opetussuunnitelmien sisältökuvauksia ei Suomessa ole julkaistu.  Myös kansainvälisesi kuvauksia on julkaistu niukasti, lähinnä syöpäsairaanhoitajan kompetenssista lääkehoitoon liittyvään erityisosaamiseen kohdistuen.  Syöpäpotilaan hoitaminen on kompleksinen ja laaja kokonaisuus., jonka tulisi olla yksilöllistä, potilaslähtöistä ja kokonaisvaltaista. Olennaisena osana hoitotyön toteutusta on potilasohjaus, potilaan ja hänen omaistensa tuki, kommunikaatio moniammatillisessa työryhmässä ja potilaan sekä hänen omaistensa kanssa.

Tutkimushankkeen tavoitteena on edistää syöpäsairaanhoitajien erityisosaamista sekä tehdä näkyväksi syöpäpotilaan turvallisen hoidon toteutumisen edellyttämä syöpäsairaanhoitajan kompetenssi. Tutkimushanke vahvistaa syöpäsairaanhoitajien kompetenssin tunnustamista ja osallisuutta syöpäpotilaan moniammatillisesti toteutettavassa hoito- ja palvelukokonaisuudessa sekä kansallisesti että kansainvälisesti. Tutkimushankkeen tarkoituksena on 1) määritellä ja arvioida syöpäsairaanhoitajan kompetenssi ja 2) kuvata syöpäpotilaan hoitotyön opetuksen keskeiset sisältöalueet sairaanhoitajien perus- ja tutkinnonjälkeisessä lisäkoulutuksessa. Tutkimushanke on kansainvälinen.

Kirsi Talman

Kirsi Talman, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Health Care and Nursing Education, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Principal Lecturer, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Research Lead in Universities of Applied Sciences Student Selection Consortium

Post doc research 2015-2021



The aim of this research project is to develop and evaluate a new student selection method in health care education that is evidence-based, cost-effective, objective and reliable.

The study is undertaken in three parts:

Part I Reforming student selection in nursing education (2015-2019)

Aim: to develop, implement and evaluate a new selection method nationally.

In the Definition phase (2015-2016), the factors to be assessed in the future on-site student selection in nursing education were identified. As the result of data synthesis of three literature reviews and three focus group reviews (n=27), three main parts of the new selection method were identified, namely, learning and social skills, and certainty of the career choice.

In the Development phase (2016- 2018) a new selection method was developed and piloted. In this phase, three research questions were answered:

  • What is the structure of the selection method?
  • What is the content of the selection method?
  • What is the reliability of the selection method?

As the result of the Development phase, the new selection method was piloted in the entrance exam of four UAS in autumn 2016. Further development of the new selection method was undertaken during the year 2017, based on the results of the pilot study.

Part II Evaluation of the new student selection method (2018-2021)

Aim: To assess the predictive value of the new selection method. Research questions are:

  • What is the level of learning skills, social skills and certainty in the career choice of nursing applicants?
  • What factors are related to learning skills, social skills and certainty in the career choice?
  • What are the psychometric properties of the new selection method?

The new selection method has been validated in the entrance exam of six UAS in autumn 2017. Longitudinal data will be collected (in the years 2018-2021) to test the predictive validity of the selection method.

Part III Testing of the selection instrument in health care education in Finland (2021-2022)

Aim: to modify and test a selection method in different fields of health care education nationally.

Heli Virtanen

Heli Virtanen, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Empowering Patient Education (EPE), Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku

Research project: Competence of Empowering Patient Education

Research project is a part of the research program of empowering patient education of the Department of Nursing Science and it focuses on the evaluation of competence in empowering patient education. Empowering patient education is not only giving and getting information, but it should be mutual dialogue between a patient and nurse demanding nurses’ high competence. New learning and teaching methods are needed in nursing education and nurses’ in-service training for developing nurses’ competence in empowering patient education.

The project includes the two sub-studies:

Study 1

Competence in empowering patient education

Aim of the study is to evaluate nurses’ competence in empowering patient education

  • Descriptive study on realization of empowering patient discourse and discussion of emotions in the discourse 2019 – 2020
  • Descriptive study on development and assessment of usability of an e-learning program for nurses on Empowering Discourse in patient education
  • Intervention study on nurses’ competence in empowering patient education 2020 - 2022

Study 2

Developing and testing an instrument for evaluation of competence in empowering patient education (CompEPE)

Aim of the study is to develop and test an instrument for evaluation of competence in empowering patient education.

  • Health care workers’ competence in empowering patient education 2019 - 2020
Minna Ylönen

Minna Ylönen,  PhD, RN, postdoctoral researcher in Older Individuals' Health, Nursing and Services, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku


Nurse Director, Welfare Division, administration, Turku

Older Individuals Care - Home Best? Assessing prerequisites for living at home of older individuals with comorbidities - evidence for development

The study focuses on supporting evidence-based practices in older individuals’ nursing care. The aim is to model independent living at home, prerequisites for, current and future practices including management and develop uniform practices. The objective is to test Nursing Research Foundation’s Operational Model for Evidence-Based Practices model in the context of home health care in assessing prerequisites for living at home of older individuals with comorbidities.

There will be results in many levels of social - and health care; national, organization, older individuals, informal caregivers, managers, and nurses. This will constitute versatile frame of assessing prerequisites for living at home of older individuals with comorbidities.



Currently available mentors in our research programme:

  • Professor Helena Leino-Kilpi
  • Professor Sanna Salanterä
  • Professor Riitta Suhonen
  • Professor Elina Haavisto
  • Professor Katja Joronen
  • Professor Leena Salminen
  • Professor Maritta Välimäki
  • Associate professor Anna Axelin
  • Docent Minna Stolt
  • University Research Fellow Mari Kangasniemi