How can it be that general nurses pause or even drop out of their recognition procedure?
Rebecca Atanassov: Many general nurses who have obtained their qualification in third countries are required to complete a compensation measure on their way to full recognition. Unfortunately, after receiving a notice “requiring” a compensation measure, general nurses may put the process “on hold” for the time being or even over the long term. In contrast, the risk of an extended pause or dropping out is lower if the general nurses have already begun training. Central to this, according to our study, are three barriers on the pathway into training: First of all, in some cases notices are not written in a way which is easy to understand for applicants. This means they are not fulfilling their function as a guide to the next steps to take. In some regions there is also an insufficient offer of appropriate compensation measures. Another hurdle is that participation often requires specific German-language skills and also specialist language skills.
Why is it a problem if recognition is not completed?
Carolin Böse: People dropping out of the process is obviously a problem because there is a desperate need for skilled workers in nursing. It is not possible to access the labour market without full recognition because nursing is a regulated profession. It is also disappointing for general nurses if they are unable to work in line with the level of their qualification. Some then work as care assistants. However they then earn less and the nature of their employment is different to that of a specialist skilled worker. Then there's the fact that general nurses have already invested a great deal of time and money in recognition up to the point of receiving a notice with a “requirement”. At this point the advisers and competent authorities have also invested a lot of time too. In our study we therefore wanted to investigate the relevant evidence from the recognition statistics. It became clear from qualitative interviews with employees at advisory centres and competent authorities that the problem is widely recognised. We also talked to general nurses with recognition about their experiences in this regard.
What specific proposals do you have for preventing drop-outs from the process?
Moritz Scholz: One example would be improving the notices. They should be written more clearly and their “role as a guide” should be developed. The recognition monitoring project is currently in the process of standardising notices nationally for teaching professions and is working with the competent authorities in the federal states to produce a “sample notice”. These could then be used in other professions – such as nursing. It is also vital that there is a sufficient offer of appropriate compensation measures in the respective region. This certainly requires much greater networking between the stakeholders involved. In addition, the acquisition of language skills must always be considered. Coordinated offers are necessary to prevent general nurses dropping out of recognition and remaining in auxiliary activities. Integrated language training such as the “INGA Pflege” adaptation period is a good example. Employers should also support their general nurses in the process of acquiring German language skills.
The interview with Rebecca Atanassov, Carolin Böse and Moritz Scholz took place in June 2023. They wrote the study “Lost nurses” and are research assistants on the recognition monitoring project of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) which provides academic support for the implementation of the Recognition Act. Contact for questions: email@example.com
The study “Lost nurses. When the “requirement” of a compensation measure might hamper the recognition procedure and how drop-outs can be avoided” was published in May 2023 in the “BIBB Discussion Paper” series.