An offer from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Increase in provision desired

Laura Roser is co-author of the “Nursing situation analysis”. In the interview she summarises the results of the current IQ study on recognition in nursing.

What exactly have you investigated?

Laura Roser: Currently, international general nurses are very much in demand and are also one of the most relevant occupational groups in Network IQ. In view of this, we have used our situation analysis to examine the challenges and proven approaches from practice in the recognition of foreign nursing qualifications. Also, we recommend actions that can be taken to improve existing processes and structures, by expanding training provision at federal state level for example. 
This is based primarily on the experience and expertise of Network IQ. In May and June 2020, we also implemented virtual exchange formats with people advising and training general nurses from abroad in Network IQ or working in the coordination function of a regional network. We also included specialist knowledge from other IQ competence centres and figures from the funding programme’s monitoring.

Where do the sticking points remain with recognition in nursing?

Laura Roser: Basically, provision of compensation measures varies depending on the federal state and doesn’t always reflect actual demand. On the one hand, there is insufficient training and testing provision which means participants in federal states with large geographical areas are in some cases faced with having to drive very long distances. On the other hand, federal states are not all equally provided for in terms of the different types of training. In some instances, there’s a lack of preparation courses for the knowledge test, in others there’s insufficient provision for adaptation periods, and in rural areas there is also a lack of work-related German courses. On the whole, increased provision would be desirable.

Practical phases pose a challenge when implementing adaptation periods. Sometimes multiple nursing institutions are needed to compensate for the deficits identified in the notice. This then involves a lot of work in terms of coordination. In some cases, there is limited willingness of institutions to offer adaptation periods due to capacity shortages already existing in day-to-day care. Also, employers, for example, who have already appointed somebody as a care assistant are in some cases reluctant to release them for compensation measures. A reason for this appears to be the continued lack of awareness of the fact that practice-based training phases can be refunded, for example, within the scope of the Qualification Opportunities Act.

What’s the situation with stakeholder networking?

Laura Roser: The interfaces between stakeholders involved need to be (even) more closely linked – this is the key to improving the recognition procedure. Quite a lot is under way in this respect. Regular dialogue between the IQ regional networks and the competent authorities, and even between the counselling centres of the different networks, has proven successful. At a strategic level, an amalgamation of the relevant stakeholders, such as in the North Rhine-Westphalia IQ skilled workers network – nursing [IQ NRW Fachkräftenetzwerk Pflege] seems to be the right way forward. Coordination offices related to occupational field, as in Hesse and Saxony, are also a key support. Using these forms of networking, joint solution approaches can also be developed in the case of overarching issues, for example, in the context of nursing occupation reform or skilled worker immigration.

What specific opportunities or projects exist to support improvement?

Laura Roser: There are interesting approaches in training for example in Saarland where participants are supported in practical phases and in all areas of operation by a project-integrated practice mentor. This reduces the workload on the institution. The nice thing about the modular adaptation periods, which are being trialled mainly in North Rhine-Westphalia, is that, on the one hand, they represent a standardised course offer but at the same time are able to address individual training requirements in a flexible manner. Digital tools such as the app “One day of German – nursing profession” from the IQ Competence Centre for Work-Related German Language are useful in terms of ongoing work-related language support –- and very useful in view of the current restrictions due to the pandemic.

The interview with Laura Roser took place in February 2021. She is co-author of the recent study “Vocational recognition of general nurses with a professional qualification acquired abroad. Situation analysis from the perspective of the Network IQ [Berufliche Anerkennung von Pflegefachkräften mit einer im Ausland erworbenen Berufsqualifikation. Situationsanalyse aus Sicht des Förderprogramms IQ].” Since 2017, Laura Rosa has worked as a research assistant at the Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training (f-bb) for the IQ Competence Centre for Advisory Services and Job Training of Migrants. Before this, she had been involved for many years in development cooperation with the training and the world of work of migrants.

Key information about responsibility for, and providing details on, the recognition procedure e.g. for the reference occupation “General nurse” is provided in the Profi-Filter and the Recognition Finder in this portal.