Our bachelor degree programme in General Nursing is particularly practice-oriented. More than half of the degree programme takes place with various internship providers to enable students to immediately apply and consolidate the content they have learnt.
We regularly ask our students which internship they liked best. The winner in this year's ranking: the orthopaedics department 3B of the UK Krems - with a tenfold lead over the second place.
How do you achieve such a brilliant result? Our programme director Markus Golla gets to the bottom of this question in an interview for the professional magazine Pflege Professionell. He talks to Petra Kaiblinger and Philipp Mayer, who are responsible for training at the orthopaedics department, and Elisabeth Groiss, Deputy Director of Nursing at the UK Krems.
Markus Golla: 1st place with a tenfold lead - congratulations! What makes you so different?
Petra Kaiblinger: It is very important to me that the students feel at home with us. A collegial approach and active involvement in difficult activities are my top priorities. I can still remember my own internship very well. I was already scared of the next working day in the mornings. And: You only learn something if you do it yourself and are allowed to do so. As an intern, I wasn't allowed to do a lot of work. The first step into professional life - and thus into full responsibility - was therefore a leap into the cold water.
Philipp Mayer: I let the interns carry out various nursing activities under supervision. If we notice that an intern is interested in a certain job and is also skilled at doing it, then we let him or her do it independently - of course with our support in the background. And, as Petra has already said, the most important thing in our team is the respectful interaction with one another, which fully includes the interns. They belong to the team.
Elisabeth Groiss: In addition to the professional input, the development of a personal, private relationship level is also essential. As managers, we also take a close look at this.
Markus Golla: The standard sentence in the labour-intensive daily nursing routine is " But I don't have time to do that!"
Philipp Mayer: Yes, the guidance the way we understand it takes time. But the students repay us with higher self-confidence and greater personal responsibility.
Petra Kaiblinger: If there is a lot to do, we have to set priorities. But as a rule the students are fully involved in the teamwork.
Markus Golla: Do you also set learning goals before you start working?
Philipp Mayer: We check what the students would like to do and what we can offer. Of course, there are favourite activities, such as drawing blood, but it's also important to know how to do basic care. How do you wash the patients? How do you mobilise patients postoperatively?
Petra Kaiblinger: Exactly. We do this on a very individual basis, not according to the motto: "You are in your 1st semester and are not allowed to draw blood". When I see that my colleague is super competent and has already mastered the basics perfectly, then we want to show him or her more.
Elisabeth Groiss: In other words, the performance of each student is evaluated on a regular basis. Building on this, his or her abilities are then further developed. What is important for us is to depict reality, not to create a "laboratory situation".
Markus Golla: How high is the contribution of the management towards such a dream result?
Elisabeth Groiss: As a manager, I give my colleagues responisble for the internship handling a free hand because I see that they do it perfectly. Despite their youth, my employees are already very mature personalities. This allows you to stay in the background as a manager and predominantly convey security, as well as being available in the background as a contact person. In addition to their basic talent for leadership, my colleagues are also highly competent in their fields. We focus on self-employment - the interns also share their duty rosters with us autonomously. I only intervene if I notice something that I think needs to be corrected.
Markus Golla: As far as the framework conditions are concerned: Is there an initial interview and a main contact person, a mentor?
Philipp Mayer: No, there is no main contact person. We work in a team. Wherever there is more to do and/or more to learn. But we have an initial interview. We can also make adjustments in between.
Elisabeth Groiss: Our internal one-year training as an internship instructor has proven very successful. We also pay attention to our assets of interdisciplinarity and ongoing quality control: Twice a year we organise meetings for internship instructors with the surgical wards, internal medicine wards and functional wards.
Markus Golla: In a nutshell - What is the recipe for success?
Petra Kaiblinger: It is important to see the interns as future colleagues. In addition, reflection and self-reflection for everyone is essential. You are only learning when you are doing it yourself, and, therefore, you have to challenge and support the interns. They should enjoy coming to work. A human touch in communication is crucial as well.
Philipp Mayer: What counts for me is professional and competent instruction with a degree of fun that is adapted to the individual student.