Having lots of free time was a challenge

Deutsche Version

Celina Heiniger

Jelena Hänsli was keen to know how nurses work in the neighbouring country of Austria. A three-month internship at a private hospital in Vienna gave her an insight into other forms of organisation. But it taught her even more about being independent.

Rehab clinic, Spitex, hospital – as a trained health specialist (FAGE) in the sixth semester of the Bachelor’s program, Jelena Hänsli has already worked in a wide range of areas. “With a semester abroad, I wanted to set a different focus and learn something new in the areas of work planning and organisation.” The 23-year-old was also keen to gain an insight into a different health system.

Her work at the Rudolfinerhaus private clinic in Vienna gave Jelena the chance to do so. As an intern, she was allowed to change departments within the clinic and get a taste of working in different areas, such as nursing development, the intensive care unit and, occasionally, operating theatres. “I had initially assumed that nursing staff in Austria have fewer responsibilities than here in Switzerland. That’s why I was surprised by the vast knowledge of my colleagues, as well as by the high standard of care.”

Few structures, lots of free time

But the work is organised very differently. “Whereas we have a three-shift operation in Switzerland, they only have two shifts in Austria.” This means that the nursing staff work in 12.5-hour shifts and hand over directly to the night shift. “This certainly has its benefits. But in my opinion, these can come at the expense of the relationship with the patients,” says Jelena. Because of the 38-hour week, a nurse works only three to four days a week – usually only two days in a row. But this worked out well for Jelena. “It gave me some time to explore Vienna and the surrounding area.” During her three-month internship, the FHS student lived in a small home with her own garden. “As a nature lover, that was a great stroke of luck for me.” Because she’s not really a city person, she wasn’t bowled over by Vienna, either. But this made her appreciate the surrounding countryside even more. “I used to cycle often, or walk along the Danube. The countryside is incredibly beautiful. I especially loved the small traditional taverns.”

But having lots of free time was also a challenge. “I had a lot of time on my hands, but didn’t really know many people.” Jelena’s colleagues at the Rudolfinerhaus weren’t all the same age as her, and they already had their own circles of friends. Luckily, her friends from Switzerland occasionally came to visit, and her quiet social life also gave her time to finish her Bachelor’s thesis in peace. “I learned to become more independent during my internship.” She is now feeling the benefits of this in her current role as Training Officer at the bruggwald51 care home, as are the elderly residents there.

FHS-Studentin Jelena Hänsli

FHS student Jelena Hänsli completed an internship at a private hospital in Vienna. (Photo: Milena Bieri)

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