Chief Nursing Officer Marja Renholm received a Venny Snellman merit grant in autumn 2020, specifically for her work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic called for quick decisions, guidelines and personnel rearrangements. Marja Renholm is responsible for assigning nursing personnel to units caring for coronavirus patients. She was also involved in developing drive-in coronavirus testing stations and has represented nursing interests in the pandemic coordination groups of HUS, of Uusimaa municipalities and of the HUS Specific Catchment Area.

“When the coronavirus situation escalated in the spring, our personnel displayed robust professionalism and agility in transferring to the care of coronavirus patients. Without competent, committed employees we would have not been able to do such a good job last year,” says Renholm.

The coronavirus pandemic has demanded change management capabilities from nursing managers, along with maintaining a constant readiness for shifting circumstances. Renholm has been involved for instance in designing the retraining needed for the care of coronavirus patients, protection guidelines and consistent practices to ensure quality and patient safety. Unit supervisors needed instructions and support for their day-to-day leadership duties, such as shift planning, orientation for new nurses and deployment of the constantly changing guidelines.

“We have great supervisors at HUS, well able to coach their respective units in implementing the changes. Of course, we were all scared of the unknown virus in the spring, when the pandemic was beginning, but as we gained new knowledge, we also learned new practices. This is where my training in change management and communications came into play,” says Renholm.

The Venny Snellman prize is awarded annually in recognition of bold, innovative and effective measures to improve nursing. It is awarded by the Finnish Nursing Education Foundation (SHKS).