(Vienna, 16-01-2023) The enormous challenges posed to Austria by the issue of nursing and the shortage of nursing staff are being met by the association "Caregiver with a Heart" and the Medical University of Vienna with the establishment of an endowed professorship for nursing scienc. The goals are research and teachingd in the field of nursing as well as the implementation of innovative solutions to counteract the nursing shortage. The professorship is funded by the association "Caregiver with a Heart" with 1.5 million euros.
The issue of care and the shortage of care personnel pose immense challenges for Austria. The number of people in need of long-term care is increasing rapidly: Since 1993, the number of people receiving long-term care benefits has doubled; in 2021, the federal government paid long-term care benefits to 465,814 people throughout Austria. According to forecasts, this number will almost double again by 2050. "We have been dealing with the issue of long-term care for many years. Now, together with MedUni Vienna, we are taking the next step to provide specific solutions to solving the nursing shortage by establishing an endowment professorship," explains Günter Geyer, initiator and President of "PflegerIn mit Herz" and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Wiener Städtischer Versicherungsverein.
Demographic change, the change of family structures and, last but not least, the Covid pandemic have massively exacerbated the shortage of nursing staff in particular. The urgent need for young professionals and nursing assistants is evident especially in the areas of psychiatry. According to estimates, Austria will be lacking approx. 76,000 additional full-time nurses by 2030. "In the future, care will affect us all either directly or indirectly. We urgently need innovative solutions, which the endowment professorship at MedUni Vienna will develop with immediate effect, in order to ensure a functioning and efficient care system in Austria," says Robert Lasshofer, Chairman of the Board of Wiener Städtischer Versicherungsverein and Vice-President of the "PflegerIn mit Herz" association.
Three concrete objectives
The "PflegerIn mit Herz" association is funding the endowment professorship for nursing sciences at MedUni Vienna to the tune of €1.5m with the aim of developing and implementing not only theoretical but also feasible solutions. In essence, the Professorship for Nursing Sciences at MedUni Vienna sets itself three specific goals: Firstly, research and teaching in the field of nursing on the broadest possible medical as well as socio-demographic level. Secondly, the professorship should form an interface in order to be able to dock onto existing organisations and NGOs and to enable a consolidation of forces. Thirdly, concrete solutions for the nursing profession are to be developed and advice is to be given on their implementation. "With the endowment professorship for nursing sciences, we are incorporating a highly relevant topic at MedUni Vienna in the coming years. We are delighted to have this opportunity to fulfil our social mission once again," says Markus Müller, Rector of MedUni Vienna.
The endowment professorship has already been posted, and the selection process should be completed in the second quarter of 2023, so that it is expected to begin with the autumn semester. The subject of "Nursing Sciences" should be represented in research within a medical-scientific environment and in teaching in the diploma studies of human medicine and dentistry established at the Medical University of Vienna as well as in the doctoral studies. Training and further education in the field of nursing, especially in intensive care and other special training for nurses, are to be established. The endowment professorship has initially been agreed for a period of three years.
Broad commitment to Nursing
Wiener Städtischer Versicherungsverein has been committed to the issue of nursing care for many years. The "PflegerIn mit Herz" association was launched by Wiener Städtischer Versicherungsverein and Wiener Städtische Versicherung back in 2012. Erste Bank has been a partner from the very beginning. In addition, the Versicherungsverein also supports the digital social innovation "Alles Clara" - the app for family caregivers. "Alles Clara" is a digital relief service for people in Austria who care for people close to them.
The insurance association is also a partner of "second victim". The "second victim" association supports traumatised persons in the care and health care sector in and after crises: easily accessible, without a link to the employer and independent of the system in the form of free psychological counselling units. For years, Wiener Städtischer Versicherungsverein has also been a reliable partner to NGOs Caritas and Volkshilfe, especially when it comes to the topics of child (poverty), care and ageing with dignity.
As one of the leading institutions in medical research and education, the Medical University of Vienna is committed to its mission statement of "maintaining and restoring health based on knowledge and innovation". Accordingly, MedUni Vienna is facing up to the challenges of the healthcare system of the present and future. In doing so, disciplines of high social relevance that go beyond the specific subject areas, such as nursing sciences, are also taken into account.