Sön 14 jul / År 42 / Nr 3 2024

Pajala thrives on continuity in healthcare

Pajala municipality has many attractive jobs at all levels, but often has to compete with a growing mining industry that practically vacuums the market for skills. In healthcare and elderly care, it is extremely important that the personal touch is present, that the right person is in the right place and that there is a high level of staff present.

“Here we make sure to better our offer a little extra in order to attract and retain personnel”, begins Gabriella Latvala, operational manager of healthcare and social care within Pajala municipality.

“We do everything we can to ensure that our employees feel involved in decisions that are made, and that they feel comfortable in their workplaces around the municipality”, she continues.

“This means that we make investments to improve the working environment, and then also the living environment for our clients, ie the people that we care for. We make sure to maintain a high level of staff that provides security for both patients and our employees, however, we have a shortage of assistant nurses and substitutes”.

To remedy this, the municipality, together with Lapland's learning centers, has started a project called LEVA (Lyfta Erfarenhet genom Validering, meaning Lifting Experience through Validation), where employees who have worked in care for a number of years and/or studied a care course in the past have the opportunity to get their knowledge and experience validated to shorten their education.

There should also be good opportunities to get substitutes from other locations. Pajala municipality has good communications, its own airport, in just two hours you can be in Stockholm, for example.

Secure employment

Well-being and security are among the most important foundations for an organisation that delivers care and welfare services. This applies both to the customer/patient and to the employees who perform the service.

At Pajala municipality, you get secure employment and a lot of support in delivering with high quality, day after day. Further education is another important element.

Despite the fact that Pajala is a small municipality, the care and welfare activities are highly digitised. This includes, among other things, a keyless home service and digital tools to make good decisions. Work has now also started to introduce surveillance cameras that facilitate the home care service’s work and, not least, provide increased security for clients.

Providing fully paid higher education

Working in the healthcare sector is very different in Pajala, compared to many other places and especially in larger municipalities. In Pajala, the business is small-scale and more personal for natural reasons, there are only about 6,000 people living in Pajala and a large group are elderly people with a need for the services provided by the care system.

In Sweden, Assistant nurse is a protected title, which means that only those who have adequate training may work as an assistant nurse. Those who lack education can instead work as care assistants, which is a good entry point for those who want to get into the industry and eventually perhaps further their education. It is mainly assistant nurses that Pajala municipality is looking for.

”In order for us to be able to deliver high-quality services, we must have the right skills. Since few apply for assistant nurse training in Norrbotten, we have made a number of competence-enhancing measures. One is called Äldreomsorgslyftet, where fixed-term employees and permanent employees are given the opportunity to read up their skills towards the assistant nurse title full-time, during working hours. It is a good way for us to get the skills we need”, says Gabriella Latvala.

Thrives on continuity

A fully paid education with a salary is a great benefit that Pajala municipality can proudly offer in the area of care and welfare, thanks to the government’s decision that the effort will continue over 2024 – 2026 as well.  

Another benefit is that in Pajala you largely become part of a team that works together over time. In many municipalities, people are moved around within home care, but in Pajala, continuity is important, as assistant nurse Josefine Bergdahl can attest. Josefine works in home care in the Korpilombolo area, a small community in Pajala with around 500 inhabitants.

“One thing that is important to me is that I know my patients. I want to be able to deliver with high quality and personality. Often the meeting with the home care service can be the only visit the patient receives that day, and then it is extremely important to have a good service and to really look after the unique needs”, says Josefine.

“We have a very good working environment here”, notes Therese Mörtberg, unit manager in Korpilombolo, responsible for Tallgården nursing home and the home care in the area.

Almost everyone in the group that Therese is responsible for are trained assistant nurses and there is strong cohesion internally. Many in the group have worked in the same area for a long time, there is a clear continuity. Exactly what you strive for when the goal is to build a good care business. Pajala thrives on continuity.