Hospital or elderly care?

Hospital or elderly care: what to choose?

The decision to work abroad is already a difficult one for many people. And sooner or later in the application process another question will arise: Which kind of work would you prefer to do abroad—a job in a clinic or hospital, or one caring for elderly people? Already at the start of the application procedure, the Care With Care team will also ask about your preferences regarding your future workplace. We do so because we want to find an employer that is the best fit for you. We have compared the advantages of working as a nurse in a care home with those of working in a hospital. We hope this will help you to make your decision.

Working as a Nurse in an elderly care center

Do you like taking care of elderly people? Do you enjoy spending time with them, helping out, and doing them favors? You don’t have reservations about helping seniors with their daily personal hygiene? Then you have what it takes to be a geriatric nurse!

A job in geriatric nursing typically is less stressful than working at a regular hospital since it is easier to plan your tasks and routines. In a hospital, in contrast, things can become hectic, the workflow is faster, tasks must be completed in less time, and complications and emergencies occur more frequently. Consider whether you are the type of person who thrives on adrenaline and can cope well in emergency situations. If this is not the case, then a nursing home is very likely the better option for you.

Working in the German health sector involves a lot of red tape—care record is very extensive and subject to many rules. However, in elderly care facilities, the documentation is usually better digitalized and more of it is automated. Due to the simpler structures, it is easier to avoid double documentation. For those people for whom the documentation of care processes is not their forte or their favorite activity, geriatric care would entail less bureaucracy.

When caring for the elderly ones, you spend most of your time with people who love to talk and chat. Why not take advantage of this opportunity to improve your German skills! In such an environment, you can easily practice your language skills right from the start and improve your German week by week. In elderly care, you also can be sure that you won’t be regularly involved in emergency cases where you need to communicate with people in stress situations in order to take the correct actions— which could be quite a challenge in a foreign language.

Finally, elderly care facilities tend to be smaller than hospitals. The atmosphere is homelier and the teams are tinier. Employers usually can devote more time to each employee—especially during the onboarding—and therefore take greater account of your specific requirements. You should take advantage of this opportunity to integrate quickly and seamlessly into your new team.

Working as a nurse at a hospital or a clinic

Do you prefer a more dynamic working atmosphere? Can you adapt well to changing scenarios or do you even thrive on emergency situations? Can you remain calm in emergencies and take considered actions? Then you might appreciate the daily challenges in German hospitals!

Working at a hospital or clinic generally offers greater diversity and variety. The tasks vary from day to day and you are constantly dealing with new patients. Depending on which hospital ward you are placed at, the daily routine will involve more or less stress. In addition to the daily basic care of the patients—which is also part of the routine in elderly care facilities—you can, however, learn an awful lot and your professional development can proceed at a faster pace.

Clinics and hospitals typically offer more and better career opportunities. There is certainly greater potential to progress your career than in elderly care. Employers in the clinical sector usually pay great attention to the training and further education of their employees. Large facilities even regularly arrange internal further training courses. Further education is vastly supported, and you are encouraged to specialize—for example, in wound management, surgical or intensive care.

Another important factor is that at the care-intensive wards of clinics and hospitals—such as intensive care, trauma surgery, heart surgery and neurology units—there are normally better staffing rates than in elderly care, which means that you can provide much more time and care to the individual patients you are responsible for. Nurses in clinics and hospitals are also slightly better paid on average than their colleagues in elderly care.

Which workplace suits me better: hospital or elderly care?

Sooner or later in the application process, you will have to decide if you prefer to work in elderly care or in the clinical sector. Our tip: Start thinking about this question as soon as you begin to apply for a nursing job abroad. Consider the following: What is important to you in your job? What are the deal-breaking factors? What kind of challenges do you like? And which workplace is likely to offer you these things? Create a pros and cons list for each type of workplace. The list with the most pros will help you to make the right decision. Here are the top 3 advantages of each workplace option at a glance


ELDERLY CAREHOSPITAL
Lower stress level in daily routineGreater variety in the job
Smaller and less formal teamsBetter education opportunities
Less paperworkBetter patient/nurse ratio
More chances to improve your GermanSlightly higher salary

Note: To attain professional recognition as a nurse in Germany, it is normally necessary to complete an adaptation measure. This can take the form of an adaptation course with a final examination (Kenntnisprüfung) or the nurse needs to accomplish an internship of at least six months at an approved hospital. The Care With Care team recommends its program participants to take the adaptation course and examination because of the shorter duration and earlier opportunity to work as a fully paid nurse. With the appropriate preparation, the examination is easily manageable—success rate is around 95 percent.

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