“Old people victims of reform”

Professional associations repeatedly criticize the compromise on the new nursing training program. Six years is to be spent testing the model of "generalist" training with an option for specialization.

The compromise on nursing training meets with criticism from professional associations. The German Nursing Council fears that there will be fewer trainees in inpatient geriatric care as a result of the opening up of the planned joint training in the third year of training. The compromise falls short of the goals, a major reform of nursing education has failed, said Nursing Council President Andreas Westerfellhaus on Friday in Berlin. The Nursing Council is one of the advocates of generalist training, which combines the three sub-areas of nursing care for the elderly, sick and children.

Generalist training but specialization possible

After months of wrangling over nursing training, the CDU/CSU and SPD parliamentary groups have apparently reached a compromise. As the deputy chairmen of the SPD parliamentary group, Carola Reimann and Karl Lauterbach, announced on , according to the new "Nursing Profession Act" in the future in all nursing schools training should begin with a two-year generalist nursing education. In the third year, however, trainees can decide whether they want a generalist degree for all three professions or a specialized degree for one of the professions.

In the future, there will no longer be an individual degree in nursing care. A final decision on the new form of training is to be made after six years: If more than 50 percent of the trainees have chosen the generalist degree with the corresponding focus, the independent vocational degrees are to be phased out and no longer continued. The Bundestag is to decide whether to abolish or retain the system.

Greatest possible freedom of choice?

All training paths should be financed indiscriminately through a common training fund. "In this way, we achieve the greatest possible freedom of choice for the trainees, and through this freedom of choice for the trainees, the better model will prevail on the labor market," Lauterbach said.

Employers, who had opposed generalist training in the past, expressed relief that there will continue to be an independent training branch for geriatric care. The vice president of the nursing employers' association, Friedhelm Fiedler, fears, however, that the training material will in future be geared more closely to nursing and that fewer secondary school students will therefore choose nursing as a profession.

Too much theory is a deterrent

About 70 percent of nursing trainees are high school graduates, but 60 percent of geriatric nursing trainees are Hauptschule students, they say. "Many secondary school students are put off by too much theory," said Fiedler: "The elderly and care for the elderly will be the victims of this reform."

There was also considerable opposition to the model within the union, as well as from employers and unions. Critics feared a loss of quality and disadvantages for the lower-paid elderly care sector. Advocates stress that Germany stands alone in Europe with specialized training and that the generalist approach makes the nursing profession more attractive.

Organizational questions still open

The president of the Federal Association of private providers of social services, Bernd Meurer, referred to still open organizational questions. Among other things, he said, it is unclear how the transfer between training providers is to be organized if trainees decide to take a different degree after two years. Now it depends on the training regulation.

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