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The health system in Austria is changing. People are getting older. Medicine and technology are constantly evolving. This greatly increases the chances of a long and healthy life. But it also increases the demands on health care and the demand for highly trained professionals. Above all, focus is increasingly being put on interprofessional and interdisciplinary competences. As those at FH Campus Wien certainly know.
In Austria, life expectancy is currently increasing an average of two years per decade. In 2030, 60-year-olds will be able to look forward to another 25 to 28 years. They will then make up almost a third of the total population. The demographic development of the Austrian population places ever greater demands on the health sector: On the one hand there is an increasing demand for health products and services, and on the other hand a high quality and affordable health care has to be ensured through health promotion, prevention and more interprofessional and interdisciplinary cooperation. This changes the job requirements and competences in health professions and has implications for education and training.
FH Campus Wien currently offers nine health professions as bachelor degree programs. Since 2015, the Departments Health Sciences and Nursing Science have been working on the development of interprofessional education and training concepts. At the end of 2016, a new workshop format for interprofessional and interdisciplinary work was launched for the first time at FH Campus Wien. The so-called IN-CAFÉ has taken place regularly since January 2017 and offers didactic services for students, teachers and other working health professionals. At the workshops, participants from various professions work in small groups on the joint solution for patient case studies. The results and solutions are then presented to all the participants. The series of events, attended until now by the Departments Health Sciences, Nursing Science and Social Work, will in future be expanded to include the Departments of Engineering, Building and Design.
Beyond departmental boundaries, research at FH Campus Wien is also being conducted on new health products. Since autumn 2016, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Engineering, Nursing Science and Health Sciences has been working on the development of an intelligent cup holder in the “Drink Smart” project. The “smart” drinking cup is designed to prevent dehydration for older people who are receiving home nursing care and cannot be personally monitored around the clock. Another brand new research project is the “Dementia App”: An expert team from Nursing Science and Health Sciences is developing an app to assist with the care of people with dementia.
The academization of health professions in Austria has been rigorously pursued for years. Since the amendment of the Health and Nursing Act (GuKG) in 2016, the basic training for health care and nursing is now only provided by universities of applied sciences. FH Campus Wien has been offering health and nursing care training since 2008 as a bachelor degree program, including a professional qualification. Roswitha Engel, Head of Degree Program and Head of Department Nursing Science, is naturally in favor of the academization: “We urgently need more highly educated health and nursing professionals who are able to put scientific findings and concepts into practice.” Therefore, after the recent training reform, she is focusing on further expanding Nursing Science at FH Campus Wien.
Thanks to a collaboration between FH Campus Wien and the Nursing Academy of the Barmherzige Brüder Wien, another 24 study places for Health and Nursing Science will be available in the academic year 2017/18. With this partnership, which was signed in November 2016, the number of study places increased from a total of 388 to 412 annually. As with the existing partner locations Vinzentinum Linz, Ried and Vienna and SMZ-Süd and SMZ-Ost (both from the Vienna Hospital Association), FH Campus Wien has taken over responsibility for the curriculum of the Nursing Academy of the Barmherzige Brüder Wien. FH Campus Wien is responsible for the quality assurance and coordination of the training.
Health professionals are responsible and diverse, and today they need to make more decisions than ever before. The range of professional services in the health and nursing field as well as the higher medical technical services (MTD) has increased. Competences such as communication, management and interprofessional work are becoming increasingly important. A practical, yet scientifically sound education has now become indispensable. FH Campus Wien lecturers and colleagues from other universities recently discussed how the curricula and education needs to be further developed in the future at the recent COHERE conference held in Portugal in April 2017. COHERE is a European interprofessional network of universities in the fields of health and social work. The main findings of the conference: Professional know-how is one thing. In the future, so-called “21st Century Competences”, i.e. innovative thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity, will be increasingly in demand in the healthcare sector. As well as inter-professional work and the international exchange of experience.