Nursing career development opportunities in Germany

Nursing career development opportunities in Germany


Dr.Veena Mohan

Nursing career development opportunities in Germany

How can I expand my horizons as a nurse in Germany? Should I always remain as a basic or general nurse or can I develop my potentials?

These are the questions facing the nursing population who are willing to come and work in Germany. It is also a question haunting the younger generations, who opt for nursing.
Well, the good news and attractive fact is that you have the opportunity to improve and develop yourself in various directions of the nursing field in Germany.

I would like to enlighten you in the horizon of emergency medicine nursing in Germany. There are a number of articles and studies in this regard and it is very interesting. In Germany , the nurses finish the basic education and decide for a particular ward to work in. One of the most interesting, adventurous and also nerve recking department is the department of accident and emergency in Germany.

To understand the accident and emergency department , one must know the German medical system. Firstly, the medical system is divided as adult medicine (age above 18 years) and pediatrics (age under 18 years). Secondly, the accident and emergency medicine department is divided into internal medicine, surgical, gynecological and urology sections. The nurses working in the German emergency department (ED) has to be experienced in diverse fields. The minimum training period for nurses in Germany , in order to do night shifts are 4-6 weeks.

The nurses in German EDs work in a 3-5 shift system including triage. The nurses in German EDs are trained to triage based on symtoms of the patients in order to assess the severity of their symptoms. This helps the ED doctors to work on patients according to the severity and this in turn yields good prognosis and results. Not to forget the mental satisfaction. In order for the nurses to analyse the severity of the symptoms, they are trained to medically evaluate the patients (for eg. Heart attacks, Stroke, Weber fracture etc). They are sent for courses to learn the triage system and method which is paid from the hospital.

Secondly, they are trained per field (mainly the big fields like internal medicine and surgery) in the ED. ECG findings, Blood gas analysis, drawing blood, inserting canula, inserting urine catheter, Advanced life support , orthese for fractures, wound management, vaccination protocol for tetanus etc are effectively trained (as one to one basis).

The young or fresh nurses in German EDs have a mentor for the whole training time and there is a continuous medical evaluation. One can improve his or her nursing skills through this one on one training too.

Once the training is over and the nurses have started with their night shifts (which is the stressful part of the job, as there are only 2 nurses or also no presence of experienced doctors), the nurses can decide to do a postgraduation as an ED nurse.

The postgraduation course for an ED nurse is a duration of 2 years and it can be done together with one`s normal work (so the monthly salary flow continues). Financially , it

is very attractive as there is a reasonable salary hike once the ED nursing course is graduated.

In these two years, various subjects are taught both practically as well as theoretically. It is taught by nurses, doctors and experienced paramedical lecturers. The course dwells deeper in to the emergency medicine aspects for example, initiating non invasive ventilation, working in a polytraumata shock situation, learning to analyse the blood gas analysis and take decisions based on it, resuscitation in an advanced level, reacting and acting during shock and instabile patients etc. Its not just the organic pathology but also the mental situations like dementia, psychosis, drug dependency etc are also worked on.

One has to not only attend the theory classes but it is mandatory to train practically in the hospital of choice, in the department according to syllabus. This helps the nurses to see other hospitals and also learn how other nurses in Germany work. It expands the experience horizon and also fires up the passion to work as an ED nurse.

At the end of every module (which is usually after 4 to 6 months) , there is a module exam and or also a project work based on a topic involving emergency medicine. At the end of the 2 years, a relevant exam is conducted orally as well as written.

It doesnt end here. There are opportunities to expand the career horizons after that too. One can go into clinical nursing and specialise in resuscitation or critical care too. But i will get back to these perkies of nursing in Germany in my next blog. Till then adios and think about the wonderful opportunity you would have as a nurse in Germany and specially as an emergency medicine nurse.