Located on Suvantokatu, the new Lääkäriasema Ystävä Medical Center is more like a fairytale illustration than a doctor’s office. The impetus for paediatric specialist Petra Salmi’s dream of having her very own clinic came from Business Joensuu’s START coaching in the spring of 2022. Why was the summer a challenging time for setting up a medical center? What kind of doctor is suited for entrepreneurship? What famous entrepreneur did Petra write a letter to six years ago?
A medical center is not built in a day – it has to go through many different stages for which sufficient time should be reserved. Selecting and commissioning a patient management system, Valvira (National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health) inspections, renovating the facility to meet the needs of a medical center, setting up a website and planning its content are just a few of the things on a long list that a entrepreneur doctor must focus on.
Despite the major pressure that founding her medical center brought in the spring and early summer, Petra Salmi is beaming. She is very excited about her own, charmingly cosy clinic, a place where she truly enjoys working.
– “Honestly, the founding process was a lot to handle because I did everything myself. But, I learned so many new things. It really helped to go through the whole process and see that new things are nothing to be afraid of. Entrepreneurship is absolutely empowering! I found that I’m capable and can do anything I put my mind to, not to mention playing different roles in my business.
One of the challenges I ran into in the early stages of operations involved issues related to the commissioning of the patient information system and the service provider’s summer holidays. I was also able to figure that one out with some insight.
– I couldn’t find the right people or answers to my questions. I learned to tolerate incompleteness and I came up with the best intermediate solution that allowed me to keep moving forward,” explains Petra.
Personal medical services for children
Over the past twenty years, Petra’s work at the hospital led her to deeply contemplate her own career and dreams. The work was highly regimented in prescribed structures, and the work was always done the same way.
– “I thought it would be disappointing if I settled for this in my working life – something so familiar, something I already know. I wondered what else I might be able to learn. The greatest change I’ve experienced through running my own business has been the sense of freedom it gives me. I enjoy doing the routine things very much now,” says Petra with a smile.
One important reason for becoming an entrepreneur was the desire to offer children non-urgent, personal medical services in a peaceful environment. An old wooden house was found in the centre of Joensuu through an acquaintance. Petra recommends entrepreneurship to doctors who want to expand their competence and learn new things.
“If you want to focus solely on expert work, entrepreneurship may not be the best option,” Petra says.
Petra developed her business idea and improved her entrepreneurial skills in the group coaching for new entrepreneurs provided by Business Joensuu. Petra can’t say enough about the importance of hearing the experiences and thoughts of other new entrepreneurs and those in the same situation.
– “Even though I did have experience providing medical services as a professional, setting up my own medical clinic was new to me. The coaching session got me to think about things that I would’ve otherwise missed. And, it was also great that we were all in the same boat – this whole thing was entirely new to all of us. The group provided encouragement,” explains Petra.
In the future, a wider variety of services under one roof
Petra hopes that her business will expand in the future, with her medical center housing other service providers whose services would complement the comprehensive encounters and care of families. Petra would eventually like to see, for example, a children’s health clinic, child psychiatrist and speech therapist all working out of the same facility.
Petra also plans to offer various additional services alongside the conventional clinic services. Later, it will be possible to participate in online community activities or courses, or take advantage of Petra’s expertise and professional skills by listening to her podcasts.
Six years ago, Petra responded to Jari Sarasvuo’s announcement, in which he invited anyone interested in entrepreneurship to join him at the Nordic Business Forum. Petra was selected from among several applicants, and the idea of setting up her own medical center took root on that trip. Now, it has finally come true.
Text: Satu Niiranen, Business Joensuu
Pictures: Mari Hakanen Photography