Nursing is the heart of the clinic. Even if the nursing profession is often challenging and requires a great deal of commitment, it is diverse, exciting and fulfilling at the same time. And it is a profession with a future.
The nursing schools report a higher demand and a larger number of applicants than in previous years. One of the reasons may be the new, so-called generalist nursing training. This is comparable and recognized across Europe. With it, the training of nurses in the health sector was standardized. At the nursing school on the health campus Klinikum Frankfurt (Oder), the trainees benefit from the fact that there is a large clinic right next door with different specialist departments, in whose varied everyday work the young people are specifically integrated right from the start.
There are 120 trainees here, 40 of whom have been completing this newly structured training since 2020. Those who have successfully completed their training after three years can call themselves a nursing specialist and have very good chances of being taken on.
In an interview with the RHÖN health blog, course leader Susann Wulf, who studied nursing, presented the educational institution. She brought Laura Pingel (21) and Robbie Krüger (17), who are currently in their first year of training, to the conversation and tell us what it’s like at the nursing school.
Ms. Wulf, what exactly can you imagine under the new “generalist nursing training”?
Susann Wulf: The generalist nursing training with the job title nursing specialist is, like the previous training, a three-year training course. However, it is holistic and combines health care, health care for children and care for the elderly. This also means that people who have been doing this generalist training with us since last year will in the end be qualified for all of these areas. So it’s about outpatient care, elderly care and inpatient acute care.
Does that mean that there is no longer any specialization, as was the case before?
Susann Wulf: It is legally stipulated that after two out of three years the trainees have the option of choosing which field they want to specialize in – either care for the elderly or nursing for children. However, this means a restriction for them, because later they are only allowed to work in the same area in which they previously specialized. In addition, a specialized degree is not recognized throughout the EU. The nursing specialist training that we offer, on the other hand, enjoys EU-wide recognition. Because we want to prepare our students for their job in the best possible way and avoid restrictions, we as a nursing school deliberately do not offer this option. In addition, we see no future in the specialization of our trainees. It is better that they have a broad range of expertise.
How many trainees are currently completing this training?
Susann Wulf: Last year we started with 40 students, divided into two classes.
What would you say is special about your nursing school? Why should interested parties knock on your door?
Susann Wulf: A unique selling point that we as a school are very proud of is the connection to the health campus Klinikum Frankfurt (Oder). We are only a three-minute walk away from here. This enables us to have excellent theory-practice cooperation.
Is it practical for you as a trainee, Ms. Pingel?
Laura Pingel: Yes, simply because you don’t have to drive halfway across the city to solve a problem or to discuss something.
How did you find out about this nursing school?
Laura Pingel: I was in Hessen before. I practically got a taste of the “old” training, that is, the non-generalist one. For family reasons, however, I moved back home to Brandenburg. I already knew the clinic in Frankfurt (Oder) because I had already completed my internship and my voluntary social year here and I liked it there.
And how was it with you, Mr. Krüger?
Robbie Krüger: I came here right after school. And I was here before as an intern. I like the togetherness and the special atmosphere that I felt when my grandfather was being treated at the clinic. A couple of my friends are also doing their training here. They are already in their third year of training.
How can you roughly imagine the training?
Laura Pingel: We start with theory so that we can better understand everyday clinical practice. Among other things, it is about patient hygiene. After that, we are involved in everyday practice at the clinic for ten weeks, for example in radiation medicine. We will then be deployed in the nursing home, but also in the hospital. After all, the point is that we complete a certain number of hours in various specialist areas and gain as broad an insight as possible.
Robbie Krüger: I think it’s nice that you get to know a lot of people and that you can follow the patient’s recovery process and support them yourself. That makes me feel like I’m doing something useful.
How did the application go?
Robbie Krüger: I sent my application documents to the clinic and was then invited to a personal interview. I found it pretty easy.
Is it possible to come to your nursing school before applying for a “sniff”?
Susann Wulf: Of course, we even recommend a trial internship. It is important to us that applicants orient themselves in an inpatient care area before starting their training. This makes sense if only so that you have a rough idea of what to expect and what care really means in everyday life.
Let’s jump to the end of the training, the exams have been passed. Now things can really start in the job. How many new nurses can you take on?
Susann Wulf: That is actually increasing continuously. The trainees in the third year of training will now go into the examination quarter in the summer. They all already have their signed employment contracts in their pockets. In general, we are of course interested in making training and work attractive for our students. This includes equipping our trainees with iPads so that communication with one another works better.
How do you imagine your professional future in the next few years?
Laura Pingel (laughs): I would like to continue to be here in the clinic. Preferably in the operating room. So if everything works out.
Robbie Krüger: Me too. First of all, of course, I have to finish my training. But even after that, I want to continue my education. There are many options, for example ward manager or mentor.
And what is your day-to-day work like at the moment?
Laura Pingel: We are currently in the nursing home. Before six in the morning, the so-called handover with the night team takes place. Between 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., we take care of the patients in need of care. Then we hand out breakfast. In between, new patients may be accepted. We also bring some of them to investigations. And at lunchtime, on a tour, we ask everyone again if they still need anything. Around 1:30 p.m. we hand over to the late shift. And then around 2:30 p.m. we end of work.
So you have to be able to get up early …
Laura Pingel: Yes, that’s right, but you get used to it. And it also brings variety if you switch from early to late shift, for example. In addition, the patients are very grateful to us for what we are doing. You notice that every day, and of course that’s good.