Riitta Suhonen PhD, RN is Professor in Nursing Science and has a speciality in older people nursing science (Research and Education in Elderly Care) since 2011. She works in the Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku, Finland.
1. Why did you become a nurse?
While I was a child I was often sick. One day while I was about 10 years old, sick again, I was speaking with my aunt. She had studied to be a nurse in Europe and worked in the United States and was visiting us in Finland. She asked me what I want to be while growing older. She advised to select a carrier in which I can help others. After high school, I really had many options in my mind, but surely the most interesting and attractive was work in healthcare. Thus, I first aimed to be a doctor, but was working as nurse’s aide in summer time, and had the idea of being a nurse. I graduated from nursing school, but continued my career a bit later in the university, obtained a masters and soon after that continued my doctoral studies. My clinical background is in surgical nursing care in a regional hospital, and I was also a senior ward sister on the same ward. After that, I was a quality and development manager of one healthcare area for many years.
2. Why did you become an editor?
I have been interested in scientific writing for many years. I teach in the masters and doctoral programme in the University of Turku. At the moment, I have over 120 peer-reviewed scientific publications. While having published a lot, I was also keen on seeing the publication process from the other side, from the editor’s desk and publishing house. I have been an editorial board member for many journals, and also committed to this work with journal editors, editorial board members and publishing house staff. I am currently the editor of the Finnish Journal of Nursing Science, but I will be stepping down from that position at the end of this year.
3. What advice would you give to aspiring editors?
An editor’s position is significant and the work is demanding. However, this position can advance scientist’s carrier and there is still lots to learn all the time. Life is learning. I would advise to take your moment and take the job if somebody is offering the opportunity. This position is on the frontier of current developments in the field.
4. What are the main challenges for nursing in the next decade?
Healthcare systems have gone through many structural changes during recent years, but investment in the content of care and services has not matched this. We nurses can be better in meeting individuals' needs and using our knowledge for the benefit of people’s health and health promotion, not only in those tasks that we are currently executing with the patient, for example at the time in hospital unit. Research-based evidence is increasingly available, but we do not use it as efficiently we could to improve the content of clinical care. Healthcare systems strive for person-centered care in their strategies but the viewpoint or perspective of the patient is still largely missing. The ageing population will have a strong impact on the use of care and services in all organisations worldwide in the near future. However, the evidence points out that the care that is available does not take into account that people are different, and this viewpoint has not been sufficiently integrated into the development of healthcare services currently. There is need to strengthen the user’s involvement in developing healthcare services to better suit them and to be individualised enough to support their self-care, self-management and independent living.
5. Who do you recommend to follow on Twitter?
I have to say I am not a very active user of social media. I admire people who can easily connect with others all around the world, and seems to do that very easily. I advise you to follow Nursing Open (as the journal is going to have a strong impact in nursing and nursing science) and our editor-in-chief Roger Watson’s activities – he is a busy man but offers good information where ever he is.