Nursing and Medical Support Services CC13 - Outstanding Achievement Award

Our Oustanding Achievement Award goes to the Nursing and Medical Support Services of CC13, in recognition of their commitment to supporting members of staff with family responsibilities and the development of general rules and arrangements to support these members of staff. There is a specific focus on the needs of single parents and members of staff who provide care for a relative, and effective communication of the options and services available to support members of staff in finding a better work-life balance. Support is delivered in such a manner as to ensure that different interests within a team are respected and accommodated.

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Profile – Dagmar Hildebrand, Center Nursing Manager CC13

Dagmar Hildebrand, Pflegerische Centrumsleitung CC13
  • Center: Internal Medicine with Gastroenterology and Nephrology (CC13)
  • Professional services/areas: Nursing and Medical Support Services
  • Types of services: inpatient care, 2 intensive care units, day care units, outpatient units, medical support services
  • Center Nursing Manager: Dagmar Hildebrand
  Female Male Total    
Number of staff 363 78 441 Number of children approx. 180
Part-time staff 192 31 223 Number of adult dependents approx. 15
Number of staff on parental leave 16        

What convinced the judges?

photo: station 43 CVK (© Armin Thomaß)

“Part-time arrangements are almost always possible. Some areas have introduced working time arrangements that suit the specific needs of mothers with children.”

“Three months prior to their return to work after parental leave, members of staff meet with management to discuss working time arrangements, area of work, childcare and training needs.”

Concept: Mothers (-to-be) in CC13 Nursing Services

  • Part-time arrangements are common and do not pose any problems
  • Communication – Strategies for 'Mothers-to-be in Nursing Services'
  • Family-friendly holiday arrangements
  • Robust duty rosters – with special consideration given to single parents
  • Dates of internal meetings are scheduled a month or, in most cases, a year in advance.
  • Extensive communication: flyers for staff who care for adult dependents, strategy document 'Mothers in Nursing Services', rules for family-friendly holiday arrangements

An interview with Dagmar Hildebrand, Center Nursing Manager CC13

D. Hildebrand: At Charité, holiday arrangements are subject to internal rules, the Federal Paid Leave Act (Bundesurlaubsgesetz), and the Paid Education Leave Act for Berlin (Berliner Bildungsurlaubsgesetz). Both members of staff and managers can find the available information difficult to understand and reconcile. (Annual leave arrangements – CC13 Nursing Services (Urlaubsplanung im Pflegedienst des CC13)

To make things easier, we have produced written guidelines. These remain unique at Charité. They contain recommendations and instructions regarding regular meetings to be held throughout a member of staff's pregnancy, after the end of their paid maternity leave, or after their return to work following parental leave. The aim of this is to ensure meetings and discussions can be held early, in order to prepare for the member of staff's return to work, and to address important issues, such as finding childcare, shift work, and alternative options available at Charité.

We also produce an information leaflet for members of staff (Infobrief für Mitarbeiter), which is of interest to members of staff who are still on parental leave. This leaflet, which is produced at somewhat irregular intervals (between two and four times a year), provides members of staff with access to information on the latest developments within their area of work over the past few months, as well as information on current projects, planned moves, new members of staff, anniversaries, and so on. 

We are currently developing a flyer for the friends and relatives of our patients, which may eventually be used across Charité. Addressed to people who care for an adult relative, and providing information on available services and relevant contacts, these flyers can also be useful to members of staff.

The Office of Family Affairs: When talking about the concept of family-friendly employers, how would you define the term 'family-friendly'? And, in your opinion, what renders a company or a department family-friendly?

D. Hildebrand: In my opinion, the most important thing for an organization to do in this respect – particularly in light of the growing shortage of skilled nursing staff – is to offer options that enable staff to find a healthy work-life balance. 

 

 

The Office of Family Affairs: As a senior member of staff, where do you see opportunities for action in support of a more family-friendly environment at work?

D. Hildebrand: I believe there is scope for us to become even more flexible as far as the planning of rosters is concerned. I know of facilities with arrangements which offer staff returning to nursing the opportunity to choose a specific type of employment contract and fixed working time arrangements, which means exclusively working either early, late, or during night shifts. Such fixed scheduling makes planning ahead much easier than when staff have to work around constantly changing shift patterns. I feel there is still a lot of scope for improvement at Charité.

Even when we feel we are already on track to achieving robust improvements, it is imperative that we tell members of staff about the options available to them. It is crucial for managers to keep encouraging staff to utilize what is available. Having a playroom, for instance, is a great idea in my view. 

I know of a member of staff who uses Kidsmobil if she needs emergency childcare, and she is extremely happy with the service. It is a service that is available to all members of staff. But even this service is still in its infancy, and needs more time to grow. This is precisely why I see my main role here as that of facilitator.

The Office of Family Affairs: Now, looking ahead: What are the ideas, measures, and projects in place to promote and support a family-friendly environment?

D. Hildebrand: In our center, we are currently looking for alternative options for older members of staff. As a profession, nursing is extremely physically demanding, particularly so on normal care and intensive care wards. Not everyone is able to continue performing all of the duties involved until they are 65 years old.

 

 

The Office of Family Affairs: How will you use the prize money and what ideas are you hoping to implement?

D. Hildebrand: Many of our managerial members of staff are actively trying to ensure that working time arrangements meet the needs of the staff they supervise. I would like to support these colleagues in their efforts to create a more family-friendly environment, by enabling them to take part in relevant conferences, workshops or professional development events. 

We also need to actively encourage all members of staff who utilize the options and services available to them at Charité to report back about their experiences. This can be far more effective than simply reading about services on offer without understanding what these involve in practice.

This interview was conducted by Doreen Makowiak and Arlette Schwanke.