Pre-Professional Internships for Nurses

Nominated 2020

Country: Austria

Region: Lower Austria

Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy

Fields of action: Professional qualification, Education institutions, Care

Project owner: Haus der Barmherzigkeit – Stephansheim

Responsible person: Marion Wirth, MSc, Pflegedienstleitung

Website: Weblink


By 2035, people aged 60 years and over are expected to become a third of the population of the state of Lower Austria. In contrast, there is a shortage of geriatric nurses and care professionals. This shortage is also due not only the social image of the job, but also a fear of the conditions of geriatric nursing.


Präpraktikum für Pflegefachkräfte (“Pre-Professional Internships for Nurses”) aims to prevent early dropouts of prospective nursing students. Trainees are often deterred by a lack of preparation of “real situations on the ground” of geriatric nursing and end their education. The project offers practical experience in a guided learning environment.


After four months of theoretical training, the nursing students work at St. Stephen’s Nursing Home with their teachers to learn the diverse tasks of long-term nursing care. The students‘ fears and anxieties are reduced through contact with the elderly people of the nursing home.


According to the results of our questionnaire (response rate 80%), more than 50% of our trainees since 2017 had a positive experience in the programme. The programme also significantly reduced their fears of geriatric patient care. Nearly 50% of newly recruited nurses in 2019 are Präpraktikum für Pflegefachkräfte trainees.


The project structure of the St. Stephens’ Nursing Home traineeship programme will be extended in cooperation with other partners in the next few years. The Haus der Barmherzigkeit (House of Mercy Catholic Charity) operates four nursing homes in Lower Austria and will implement the programme at these facilities with regional nursing schools.