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"If the care is gone, everything collapses"

If you want to get a real picture of the mood in clinics and homes, you should use the Internet.

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"If the care is gone, everything collapses"

If you want to get a real picture of the mood in clinics and homes, you should use the Internet. Among the hashtags

The employees in the six university hospitals in North Rhine-Westphalia went on strike for weeks to fight for better working conditions. The intensive care nurse and activist Ricardo Lange writes on Twitter: "The lack of staff not only endangers the health and lives of patients in NRW, but every clinic and nursing facility is affected." But that also causes a lot of frustration: there are no fundamental political reforms in sight.

The former nurse Lea R. gave up her job four years ago. It wasn't easy for her, she says in an interview with the Evangelisches Pressedienst (epd): "This job was my absolute passion. There is nothing more rewarding than helping someone through the recovery process. To see him breathing on his own for the first time or sitting up in his sick bed.” But after nine years in nursing, the 33-year-old saw no other option than to stop. The workload just got too much.

"You always work longer than planned, jump in when there's a breakdown, want to take care of the patients as well as possible," says Lea R. "I can get three patients through in one shift, but I can't look after them comprehensively." You calls for one-to-one care in intensive care units. That means: for every nurse there is one patient.

The high workload is reflected in frightening numbers: more than 92 million hours of overtime have already accumulated in German clinics this year. A study funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation shows that around 50,000 nurses are missing in the intensive care units of the hospitals alone. The supply gap continues to grow. According to forecasts by the German Economic Institute, there could be a shortage of up to 500,000 nursing staff in Germany in 2035.

Lea R. sees the profit orientation of the healthcare system as the root of the problem. It means that as many patients as possible are treated in the most cost-effective way. She warns of the consequences if many skilled workers turn their backs on the job: "If care is lost, everything will collapse."

According to Christine Vogler, President of the German Nursing Council, the conditions are getting worse. "The demands have been known for a long time: better working conditions through appropriate staff ratios and good salaries, rights to have a say in the health system," she told the epd. The many dropouts in nursing training are also problematic. The rate is 30 percent.

Basically, according to Vogler, different approaches to the nursing professions are needed, which offer school leavers from Hauptschule to Abitur appropriate training and study courses that are valid nationwide and enable careers. In this way, excessive or insufficient demands are avoided and many different target groups are addressed.

Lea R. would like nursing to become more academic based on the American model. And she calls for the relaxation of rigid duty rosters and a reduction in working hours to 30 hours with full pay. This is the only way to successfully fight the nursing shortage in Germany.

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