Tarja Pölkki



61 peer reviewed publications in international journals. The publications have been cited 6470 times. The author has a h-index of 29.00. (Google Scholar)


I am working as a Professor in nursing science at the University of Oulu, Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management.  I lead a research group of Well-being for Individuals and Families in Nursing (IndFamilyNurs) that aims to develop evidence-based consistent practices. My in-depth expertise in within the research area of promoting family-centered care, pain assessment and pain management focused on non-pharmacological interventions, and how the environment affects the well-being of individuals emphasizing the diversity of northern nature. Of particular interest to me are pediatric patients and the most vulnerable groups of patients, such as neonates requiring intensive care and their parents. 

In the future, I have a vision to produce high-quality and socially impactful scientific research that focuses especially on clinical nursing research. This includes dialogue with users and researchers, as well as collaboration with different disciplines at national and international level.

Research interests

  • Promoting family- and people-centered care in nursing
  • Impact of environment on well-being emphasizing the special features of northern nature
  • Developing and testing the multimodal pain assessment tools
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions on pain and its related emotions
  • Increasing the competence of staff and nursing students through training interventions

Social media

Scientific merits

Professional and community activities

  • Member of the Teaching Sample Committee of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu, 2020-
  • Deputy member of the Finnish Doctoral Education Network in nursing science, 2020-
  • Chair of developing evidence-based guidelines for pain management in neonates, 2019-
  • Member of the core staff for Finnish Centre for Evidence-based Health: JBI Centre of Excellence, 2014-
  • Member of PEARL (Pain in Early Life), a network for research and education, 2014-
  • Member of the Nursing Research Advisory Board, PPSHP, 2016-2020
  • Chair in the group of Nursing Research and Development, Children and Women, OUH, 2016-2020
  • Chair for coordinating the network of Clinical Nurse Specialists, PPSHP, 2019-2020
  • Expert and content provider in the Health Village, Children's and Women's Houses, 2016
  • Chair of the Finnish Association for the Study of Pain (FASP), the Committee for Children and Adolescents Pain Care, 2014-2016
  • Editor-in-Chief of Nursing Evidence (Tutkiva Hoitotyö) journal, 2010-2016
  • Member of the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim, 2009-2010

Research groups

  • Leader, IndFamilyNurs - research group

Selected publications

  • Rantala, Arja; Pikkarainen, Minna; Miettunen, Jouko; He, Hong-Gu; Pölkki, Tarja (2020) The effectiveness of web-based mobile health interventions in pediatric outpatient surgery: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. - Journal of advanced nursing accepted, accepted . [Original] [Self-archived]
  • Lempinen, H.; Pölkki, T.; Kyngäs, H.; Kaakinen, P. (2020) Feasibility and clinical utility of the Finnish version of the FLACC pain scale in PICU. - Journal of pediatric nursing 55, 211-216 . [Original]
  • Hui, W.J.; Pikkarainen, M.; Nah, S.A.; Nah, S.N.J.; Pölkki, T.; Wang, W.; He, H.-G. (2020) Parental Experiences While Waiting For Children Undergoing Surgery in Singapore. - Journal of pediatric nursing 52, e42-e50 . [Original]
  • Wiens, Varpu; Kyngäs, Helvi; Pölkki, Tarja (2017) Issues promoting and hindering girls' well-being in Northern Finland. - Health promotion international 32 (4, 1), 671-680 . [Original] [Self-archived]
  • Palomaa, Anna-Kaija; Korhonen, Anne; Pölkki, Tarja (2016) Factors Influencing Parental Participation in Neonatal Pain Alleviation. - Journal of Pediatric Nursing 31 (5), 519-527 . [Original]
  • Nikula, Pirkko; Laukkala, Helena; Pölkki, Tarja (2015) Mothers' Perceptions of LABOR SUPPORT. - MCN, the American journal of maternal child nursing 40 (6), 373-380 . [Original]
  • Carbajal, Ricardo; Eriksson, Mats; Courtois, Emilie; Boyle, Elaine; Avila-Alvarez, Alejandro; Andersen, Randi Dovland; Sarafidis, Kosmas; Pölkki, Tarja; Matos, Cristina; Lago, Paola; Papadouri, Thalia; Montalto, Simon Attard; Ilmoja, Mari-Liis; Simons, Sinno; Tameliene, Rasa; van Overmeire, Bart; Berger, Angelika; Dobrzanska, Anna; Schroth, Michael; Bergqvist, Lena; Lagercrantz, Hugo; Anand, Kanwa (2015) Sedation and analgesia practices in neonatal intensive care units (EUROPAIN): results from a prospective cohort study. - Lancet respiratory medicine 3 (10), 796-812 . [Original]
  • Pölkki, Tarja; Korhonen, Anne; Axelin, Anna; Saarela, Timo; Laukkala, Helena (2014) Development and preliminary validation of the Neonatal Infant Acute Pain Assessment Scale (NIAPAS). - International Journal of Nursing Studies 51 (12), 1585-1594 . [Original]
  • Hökkä, Minna; Kaakinen, Pirjo; Pölkki, Tarja (2014) A systematic review : non-pharmacological interventions in treating pain in patients with advanced cancer. - Journal of advanced nursing 70 (9), 1954-1969

Thesis supervisions

  • Supervision of 15 Doctoral students (3 completed, 12 in process):

    1. Arja Rantala (PS)

    2. Heli Kerimaa (PS)

    3. Minna Hökkä (PS)

    4. Anna-Kaija Palomaa (PS)

    5. Saija Huhtala (PS)

    6. Pirkko Nikula (PS)

    7. Olli Autio (PS)

    8. Eeva Talus (PS)

    9. Mariaana Mäki-Asiala (PS)

    10. Minna Manninen (PS)

    11. Airin Treiman-Kiveste (CP)

    12. Elina Laukka (CP)