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Providing Hymynkare with knowledge, skills and emotion

Hymynkare Oy:n yritystarina Business Joensuu. Nainen ojentaa hymyillen kättä katsojaa kohti.

- The work had become caring for a computer, even though I should have been taking care of people. I had to find another kind of solution, Katri Koskisuu-Reijonen says, describing how she felt in 2015. Therefore, Koskisuu-Reijonen started her Master's degree studies in social and health care development and management. The studies opened up a career path leading to entrepreneurship.  

Katri Koskisuu-Reijonen has a passion for studying and developing herself. First, she graduated as a practical nurse, then as a nurse. She accumulated work experience in the health centres of Liperi and Outokumpu both at the health clinic and inpatient wards. 

Koskisuu-Reijonen talks about the significance of nursing and feels sad about how grim the image of the sector conveyed in the Finnish media has been. Instead of wallowing in the depressing atmosphere, the entrepreneur of Itä-Suomen Kotihoito Hymynkare Oy offers concrete suggestions for improvements and changes:

-  The first thing that needs to be put in order is the patient information system. It makes no sense that nurses spend their time sitting by the computer waiting for the hourglass to stop spinning, recording the same data for the second or third time. If the systems were in order, nurses would have much more time to engage in actual nursing than they currently have.

Being an experienced care professional, Koskisuu-Reijonen is also concerned about the weakened quality of education.

-    The pressure to graduate is high. Workplaces have had to take more and more responsibility for building competence and training employees into professionals. 

In addition to quality, it is also a question of quantity. While a few years back each advertised vacancy could attract dozens of applications in minutes, now the number of applicants has dropped dramatically. When it comes to attracting employees, those who take the employer image and the development of the work community seriously do well, says Koskisuu-Reijonen.

Overly sheltered or full life? 

Let us go back to the Master's degree and a study trip to Greece. Still with some astonishment in her voice, Koskisuu-Reijonen describes how much the Greek and Finnish nursing cultures of the elderly differ from each other.

-  In Finland, ageing people are encountered with a lot of caution, people tiptoeing around them. Older people are touched very cautiously, if at all. In Greece, the approach was totally different – vivid, joyful, with a lot of touching, noisy and filled with life. And that was the case, even though some of the people were in a wheelchair or confined to bed. From the perspective of older people, the working culture was better, even though there was less money available, and the external conditions were more modest.

Koskisuu-Reijonen emphasises the importance of physical, psychological and social encounters as a whole. 

-  With a view to personal recovery and functional capacity, it makes a major difference how a person feels.  

Campfire gatherings for entrepreneurs

Katri Koskisuu-Reijonen launched Hymynkare Oy in April 2017. For her, entrepreneurship was an opportunity to start working in nursing the way she wanted, so that there was time for encounters with people, while doing all the necessary entries smoothly with a mobile application. Hymynkare provides home care, home nursing and support services, such as cleaning, outdoor recreation and informal care services. The company has offices in both Outokumpu and Joensuu. 

-  I thought it would suffice if I kept myself employed. Then, perhaps in a few years’ time, I would even hire my first employee. But it didn't go that way – I had my first employee hired in the first autumn. 

When Hymynkare had grown into a company with 20 employees, Koskisuu-Reijonen knew that she needed to learn more about management and company development.

-   I contacted Business Joensuu’s Outokumpu office and Business Specialist Juha Saastamoinen. I told Juha I really needed his help! I’m a nurse, and when my company keeps on growing rapidly, I need to find new employer skills.
Koskisuu-Reijonen joined Business Joensuu’s GROW growth coaching programme in autumn 2020.

-  That was absolutely amazing! It was like a campfire gathering for entrepreneurs – there were entrepreneurs from different sectors but with similar challenges. I learned a great deal from people's experiences and the way they handled things. The way a person like me handles things differs from the way, say, a correct engineer-type person approaches them. The attitude of a more experienced entrepreneur, on the other hand, helped put some things in the right proportions. It was peer support at its best.

Koskisuu-Reijonen says that she has also opened the thick exercise book, a toolbox, compiled in growth coaching many times since the coaching ended. 

Preferably no burnouts

Hymynkare currently employs 33 people. Being an entrepreneur leading her own growth company, Koskisuu-Reijonen continues her training in Business Joensuu's LEAD coaching programme. In the management coaching, the leading thought is to develop one's entrepreneurship and leadership skills.

-  Entrepreneurship and growth have required reasoning and learning new practices. At some point, I noticed that I was trying to take care of too many things at once, everything from fieldwork to management. At that time, the company had only one first-line manager, and now there are two of them. 
Koskisuu-Reijonen praises the interactive work community of Hymynkare.

- Interaction is exactly what is needed to ensure that no one burns oneself out. On my career, I have also seen poor management and various work community issues. At Hymynkare, we pay a lot of attention to ensuring that this company is a good place to work at. 

Text: Sirkka-Liisa Aaltonen/Viestintä Ässä Oy
Photo: Jarno Artika

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