3s at EUcareNET network event on the transnational migration of nursing professionals in Dresden (Germany)

Demographic change is hitting Europe. Few young people, an ageing population and an increase in people from other countries will change Europe in the long term.

This will be particularly noticeable in the healthcare sector. Transparency and the validation of skills are therefore more important than ever for the mobility of skilled workers on the labour market in and for the European Union. They can help to overcome the already serious skills mismatches in the European Union.

EUcareNET – Foundation stone has been laid

The consortium of the EUcareNET project and its consortium leader DEKRA Akademie GmbH (DE) invited to the EUcareNET network activity from 27-29 June 2018 in Dresden, Germany. Almost 70 participants from more than 20 institutions  turned the three-day event into a platform for joint exchange and learning about migration of healthcare professionals thanks to a wide variety of projects and initiatives (European and national but also institute-specific).

On the first day, the focus lay on current challenges and finding common solutions in the context of transnational mobility of skilled workers which were discussed by an extended international audience of representatives from politics, employers, educational institutions and authorities.
On the two following days, further topics concerning the migration of nursing professionals were discussed in detail in practical workshops in a smaller group of EUcareNET network partners. The focus was on practical questions such as “What makes qualifications comparable across borders”, “Which skills will nursing professionals need in the future” and “How can language learning be optimally promoted in the context of migration”. The guests and partners from all over Europe including Sweden, Poland, and Greece gave an insight into their project and research results. The EUcareNET network aims to promote exchange and cooperation between different actors playing a role in the migration of nursing professionals in the European labour market across borders. The foundation stone for this was laid in Dresden.

Large network through strong European partners

16 EUcareNET partners form the framework of the EUcareNet network and a number of other institutions from the European Union and beyond have already signalled their interest in becoming active in the network in the future. From German-speaking countries, these include DEKRA Akademie GmbH as coordinator, 3s, based in Austria with extensive experience in projects on the transparency of qualifications including the development and aplication of a specific matrix methodology for vocational skills, and the Technical University of Dresden with the Institute for Vocational Education and Training, in which Professor Sandra Bohlinger and her research team are based.

Partners include the Athens-based TEI, one of the largest technology education institutes in Greece with over 35,000 students, the Southeast European Research Centre (SEERC), a research centre of the University of Sheffield, whose roots are also in Greece, and the Comune di Ortuna which supports the training of health professionals in Italy.

The Jagiellonian University (JU), founded in Krakow in 1364, with 15 faculties, three of which include the Collegium Medicum (Jagiellonian University Medical College – Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy and Faculty of Health Sciences), and INTERPERSONNEL Polska Sp. z. o.o. are among the Polish partners in the project. INTERPERSONNEL Polska initiates, organises and coordinates projects for professional activation at home and abroad. The Polish Nursing Association (PNA) is also based there. The Staatliche Höhere Berufsschule in Tarnow (SHVS) is a university that concentrates on the preparation of competent specialists for taking on tasks on the European labour market. The UOL (University of Lodz) also attaches great importance to international cooperation. For example, the Faculty of Management (FoM) was a partner in the Helpcare project (http://helpcare-project.org/), which aimed to develop and transfer innovative practices in education to qualify and professionalise health and social workers.

Visions for the future in Europe

Lectures, workshops, an evening panel moderated by WDR moderator Jürgen Zurheide and a ‘World Café’ gave the audience plenty of opportunities to inform themselves, to exchange ideas and to learn together.  The development of various topics in parallel workshops was very much welcomed by the participants in this context The impressive ‘3-D matrix’ of the ‘HCEU project’ presented by Mr Dietmar Metzger, DEKRA Germany, in the form of a cube, attracted special attention because it highlights possible gaps between individual country profiles of specific healthcare qualifications.

At the World Cafe, the final event on the third day, all participants enthusiastically discussed visions of the future and opportunities for the future of healthcare in Europe. Topics such as “Integration of medical professionals with a migrant background at the workplace” and “Future qualification requirements for nursing professionals” moved the eight tables with participants. Visions of a European-wide / worldwide uniform basic qualification for nursing professionals in order to simplify the migration of specialists or help through robotics in nursing were discussed several times.

At the end of the EUcareNET network activity, all participants set off  for their home countries and institutions with numerous new ideas and suggestions for the migration of nursing staff. On the basis of the  positive feedback, the network (www.eucarenet.eu) will certainly be further expanded and new cooperations will be concluded.

The EUcareNET network was founded within the framework of the three-year Erasmus + project’HealthCareEurope(HCEU)’ (www.project-hceu.eu), which ends in August 2018 and in which 3s (Sigrid Nindl, Sabine Schwenk) was a project partner.