”Today, I would like to hear your suggestions for the name of our autumn event.” This statement is made during a skype conference by Kristina Mikkonen, a well-established and actively publishing researcher and a coordinator of this nationwide research project. The recipients, master students from different universities in Finland sit quietly for a moment. Not, because they are shy in front of the project coordinator, but because they want to think the answers they give.
All the students around the virtual conference table have joined the project in different times and for different purposes. Some are making their master’s thesis for the project, some are working as research assistants or project workers and some are doing both. But they all agree, there is no better school for academic project and research work, than participating a project like this.
Students are welcomed and appreciated part of the team. They are encouraged to give their ideas and real contribution to the different parts of the project. Project gives steady surroundings and senior researchers support the work and development of the students and project workers by guiding, instructing and involving them into every aspect of the project. But they also give enough space to develop and make use of independent working and decision making. The leaders of the sub projects are genuinely interested in their students and gently push them to make use of their special knowledge and abilities.
In addition, being part of a research project, for the purpose of conducting research for master’s thesis means, that the student does not only have the support from their own faculty and instructors, but they have the support from the whole team.
Whether a student participates this project as a student or a worker, they are treated with respect and appreciation. They don’t need to sit in meetings merely to listen and make notes, but they are actively encouraged to participate. Hence, when the short moment to gather the thoughts passes, the space around the virtual conference table is soon filled with enthusiastic brain storming resulting a name agreeable to everyone.
It is a pride and privilege to be part of this Competent Educators Together -team. And if you ever have a chance to take part in this kind of a research project, we warmly recommend you to go for it!
Imane & Iina
Department of Nursing Science
Faculty of Medicine
University of Turku