Customisation of job descriptions improves social and health care services

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© Maria Grönroos, Studio Liikkuva

Strict limits for professional groups in the social and health services sector are common 

In Finland, the job descriptions and qualifications of health care and social care personnel are strictly regulated by laws and regulations. The all known job descriptions ensure smooth progression of work and quality of health services and patient safety. The job descriptions have been quite clear compared with other professions and the contract system is comprehensive. In sote-reform (reform of social and health care system), one measure is to make eligibility criteria and the obligations of personnel structure more flexible so that tasks can be delegated from one professional group to another (Government’s bill HE 69/2018 VP).

One of the aims of the Government Reform (HE 69/2018 VP) is to re-examine the division of health care between doctors and registered nurses. Time will show, if sote-reform creates new professionals in the provinces.

Towards the authorship of own work 

The SWiPE project has studied new professional, which is emerging in the social and health care sector alongside traditional professions. The development of technology, online services and the electrification of public services enhance the emergence of a new professional in the social and health care sector. Health agents, virtual nurses and digital instructors have already entered the service providers’ payroll. As one of the less well-known professionals working in customer service work are the service advisers. They solve the problems of customers and pave the way for the social and health care system’s path comprehensively.

The study brings to the discussion a task-oriented perspective, in which the professionals themselves seek out new tasks and create new job descriptions for themselves. The research material includes interviews with five service advisers and the observation of customer service work. It is interesting that customers and other professionals have influenced the formulation of the job descriptions and roles of these professionals.

The study pointed out the proactivity of the service advisers and the authorship of their own work. The service adviser’s work is an example of the work that the employees themselves create for themselves in rapidly changing conditions and networks. The service adviser can help the doctor or nurse in a shortage of time by taking appropriate tasks on the run. Advising, coordination of customer services and solving problems are quickly handled by a service adviser who knows the operational environment well. Work days vary and roles are shaped by intensive client work.

The study gives an indication that new, more wide-ranging job descriptions that also require humane skills are emerging in the social and health services. A review of the personnel structure is strengthening of customer orientation and modernisation of the culture. A professional reserve can produce a higher quality service if the job descriptions complement each other. Service advising is needed to reduce the duplication of work for professionals. The client’s safe service path may require a stop at a nurse and at a service adviser.



Government’s bill HE 69/2018 VP

Saari, E., Käpykangas, S. & Hasu, M. (2018). Professionals as authors of their work: Service advisors as navigators of changing services. In: the Journal of Professional and Vocational Education 1, 62-80.

Sari Käpykangas works as a SWiPE researcher in the Finnish Institute of the Occupational Health.


Translation by Marja Rautajoki.