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Working in China, Understanding China

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2023-05-11 09:25:14 | Author: LONG Yun & BI Weizi

Professor Maritta Vaelimaeki. (COURTESY PHOTO)

By LONG Yun & BI Weizi

Finnish scholar Maritta Vaelimaeki, director of the Evidence-based Research Center of Xiangya School of Nursing, Central South University (CSU), is the first foreign nursing expert in Hunan to receive the 2022 Chinese Government Friendship Award. She received the award due to her dedicated work in nursing and promoting international cooperation.

Vaelimaeki is engaged in developing user-centered technological solutions and testing their effectiveness in a variety of treatment settings with her expertise in evidence-based research, practice and teaching. She said it was a "great honor" to receive the award, according to a recent interview with Science and Technology Daily.

Seeing China from another angle

In 1987, Vaelimaeki spent two months backpacking around China after graduating from college. During that time, she was intrigued by China's stunning landscapes and culture, falling in love with the exotic oriental country. After returning home, she revisited China in her dreams, convincing herself that she would return someday.

Three decades later, Vaelimaeki finally made her dream come true. She was amazed by China's rapid modernization and growth. According to Vaelimaeki, the infrastructure and environment in China have changed dramatically over the past decades.

Despite these changes, Vaelimaeki found that Chinese people were still as warm-hearted, hardworking, and polite as she remembered. She was particularly impressed by their eagerness to learn and their willingness to pursue their ideas. This spirit of innovation was what drew Vaelimaeki back to China and continues to inspire her work there.

Vaelimaeki works closely with her Chinese partners to develop new healthcare solutions and technologies. She explained that working in China has given her a unique perspective on healthcare, as well as a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and way of life.

Vaelimaeki shared her view on China's fight against COVID-19. Based on her professional experience, she was impressed by the effective measures implemented by the Chinese government and provincial authorities in containing the pandemic.

She was also grateful for the assistance she received from Chinese students at CSU, who helped her navigate the rules and measures during the pandemic.

Raising China's voices

Vaelimaeki is a nursing professional who believes an international teaching platform is crucial to training nursing talents with good qualities and high standards for the new era. She has contributed significantly to the cooperation between the Xiangya School of Nursing at CSU and School of Nursing of the University of Turku in Finland regarding postgraduate course sharing, joint training, and communication and exchanges.

Vaelimaeki also played a crucial role in developing training between Finland and China related to nursing. She invited a total of 14 universities to join the project, nine from China and five from Finland. This project has helped students and researchers from both countries establish academic network, learn about advanced methods, and develop closer bilateral connections.

Moreover, this Finnish scholar actively delivered China's story of combating the pandemic and continued to spread Chinese culture to the rest of the world, expanding the reach of China's voice to a broader audience.

One of the essential steps that Vaelimaeki took to expand the global influence of Xiangya School of Nursing was to build an international English website for the school. She promoted it in various ways and presented Xiangya School of Nursing to universities and research institutes in other countries.

Vaelimaeki hopes to offer opportunities for young Chinese researchers, teachers and students to understand advanced research methodology and develop network with international universities.

Caring about mental health

Vaelimaeki has a keen interest in new technologies for addressing mental health issues. She is aware that there are numerous ongoing studies related to the well-being of nurses and doctors during the pandemic.

Vaelimaeki said that developing new technology takes time, requiring surveys and understanding the environment and existing technology. She dreams of working on technology-related mental health issues in the future and is eager to collaborate with local networks in China to address these challenges.

In addition, she is particularly concerned about the impact of stress on people of all ages, focusing on young people and the elderly. She said that the development of science and technology can play a critical role in alleviating mental health issues caused by challenging situations.


This article is also contributed by CSU.

Editor: 毕炜梓

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