Journey to Germany: the Triple Win Project

This post is dedicated to sharing how I landed a job as a nurse here in Stuttgart, Germany. I was one of the Filipino nursing professionals deployed by the Triple Win Project and I arrived here in June 2018.

The Triple Win Project is a joint initiative of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) which aims to send nursing professionals to different parts of Germany. The project is called as such because it benefits three entities: the Philippines, Germany, and the nurses.

What does the project provide?

    • Work placement in Germany
    • FREE language training and exams (up to one take only)
    • Support with the emigration process

Triple Win Project 3

 

What are the basic requirements to qualify for the Triple Win Project?

    • Filipino Citizen (Male or Female) and permanent resident of the Philippines
    • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
    • With active Philippine Nursing License
    • At least two years professional experience (bedside) in Hospital, rehabilitation centers and/or Care institution
    • With and/or willing to undergo German Language Proficiency Class
    • Willing to undergo German Language Training and attend up to level B1 in the Philippines (training paid by employers)
    • Must be able to attend language classes or with B1 or B2 Language Proficiency Level in accordance with Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Log on to http://www.poea.gov.ph/ for more details.

 

How much is the salary?

    • The average salary is 1,900 Euros for nurse assistants (and will increase after Annerkenung or Recognition).

Note that this amount is gross salary and varies from employer to employer. Yes, this is the average salary that most successful Triple Win Project applicants receive and if the local news says otherwise, then you be the judge.

Tax and insurances also eat up a huge chunk here. After all the deductions, my monthly net income is more or less half of what was stated on my contract.  Moreover, I personally think that living in Germany (specifically in Stuttgart) is expensive in all areas imaginable {insert frustrated sigh here} so please take this into consideration if you are planning to apply for the project.

 

What expenses must be shouldered by the applicant?

(Take my personal experience as an example)

EXPENSES AMOUNT
Printing and Photocopying of Documents Php 105
Birth Certificate – PSA Php 350
Certificate of Passing – PRC Php 100
Course Description – Manila Tytana Colleges Php 300
Translation of Documents and Certified True Copy – Locker Translation & Interpretation Services Php 8,700
Medical Exam – Vizcarra Pharmaceutical Inc. Php 2,100
NBI Clearance Php 130
Embassy Photo Php 85
VISA Php 4,800 (reimbursed)
Pregnancy Test Php 300
Affidavit of no pregnancy Php 300
Notarization of B1 German Certificate Php 100
POEA Processing Fee Php 5,217
OWWA Contribution for 2 years Php 1,304.25
Philhealth Contribution – until May 2019 Php 2,400
Pag-ibig Membership Php 600
TOTAL Php 22,091.25

   

How long is the processing period prior to deployment?

(Take my personal experience as an example)

My journey to the land of beautiful castles, Mercedes Benz,  and Oktoberfest was a long and challenging one; and it went like this:

DATE ACTIVITY
2016
August 4 Submitted requirements @POEA
Sept 17 Interview, contract signing for Triple Win Project 
Sept 28 Triple Win Project Interview Result = Passed
October 7 Database completion (online)
2017
Mar 9 Endorsed for Employer Interview (Klinikum Stuttgart) via SMS
April 4 Received SMS from Triple Win re start of German Language Class
April 5 Start of A1 Class @Berlitz (4 hours class M-F, 2 mock tests)
April 24 Skype interview with employer (Klinikum Stuttgart)
May 18 End of A1 Class
May 19 Start of A2 Class @Berlitz (6 hours class M-F, 5 mock tests)
May 23 Employer Interview result = Passed
June 27 A1 Goethe exam
July 4 A1 exam result = Passed
Aug 8 End of A2 Class
Aug 9 Start of B1 Class @Berlitz (4-6 hours class M-F, 5 mock tests)
Sept 29 A2 Goethe exam
Oct 5 A2 exam result = Passed
Nov 24 End of B1 Class
Nov 29 B1 Goethe exam
Dec 11 B1 exam result = Passed
Dec 13 Triple Win asked me if I’d like to fly to Germany on January 28 but I declined because I wasn’t ready then. And I haven’t completed all documents for translation, hehe
2018
Jan 11 Finally completed all documents for translation and gave them to Locker Translations

– Claimed certificates from Berlitz and Goethe

Feb 4

 

– First batch of Klinikum Stuttgart nurses (the group I was supposed to be part of) flew to Germany (their flight was moved from Jan 28 to Feb 4), I just gathered information from them from this day forward

– Followed up with Triple Win via email for about 5 times re next flight schedule, no response

Mar 13 Received go signal from Triple Win to undergo medical exam
Mar 15 Medical Exam at Vizcarra Pharmaceutical Inc.
Mar 20 Received SMS from Triple Win to register for visa appointment via manila.diplo.de, done on the same day
Mar 21 – Claimed result of medical exam @ Vizcarra (fit to work)

– Signed contract with Klinikum Stuttgart and submitted available docs @ POEA

Mar 22 – Went to Triple Win office in Makati, submitted one copy of contract and was given schedule of  Professional Orientation on Apr 16-20

 – Received email from Triple Win re visa appointment (Apr 25)

Mar 26 Took PEOS online exam @ home
Apr 5 Emailed additional docs for translation/CTC (NBI Clearance and B1 Certificate) to Triple Win, for forwarding to Locker Translations
Apr 14 Went to the Locker Residence in Marikina to claim translated documents
Apr 16 – 20 Professional Orientation, Berlitz Ortigas
Apr 20 Went to POEA to submit more docs and request for endorsement for PDOS
Apr 24 Went to Triple Win to prepare documents for visa appointment
Apr 25 – VISA appointment, German Embassy in Makati

– Went to Triple Win to give copy of visa receipt, for reimbursement

May 4 Received SMS from Triple Win re availability of VISA for pick up the following Monday, May 7
May 7 – Claimed passport with stamped visa and other original documents @ German Embassy then

– Went to Triple Win to give copy of VISA

May 10 Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS)
May 11 – Repeat Pregnancy Test (Negative)

– Claimed Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) @ POEA

May 21 – Achtung-ed (received info re flight date through Triple Win Nurses Facebook group)
May 28 Went to Triple Win to claim E-ticket
June 1 Went to POEA to:

Submit E-ticket

Pay fees

Pre-departure briefing

June 5 Flight to Germany

Yes, going to Germany couldn’t be done overnight. The language training and exams alone could consume one full year.

There’s also the possibility of quitting your job while studying the language as it could be too tiring to do both at the same time. I was lucky though; I wasn’t working as a nurse when I did my language training. I was an SEO writer then and my boss was unbelievably nice (God bless her); she adjusted my schedule to only 4 hours a day to give way for my schooling. My classmates who were working as nurses then weren’t as lucky, they had to quit their jobs so they can focus on learning German.

Triple Win Project 2

My German language schools then and now: Berlitz Makati and English Crossroads Stuttgart

The German employer would decide if they’ll provide monetary allowance during the language classes and which German Certificate level (B1 or B2) the nurse should take prior to deployment.

In my case, I received no allowance while studying and I took three language exams in the Philippines (A1, A2, and B1) and then I was allowed to travel. Foreign nurses here in Germany need at least a B2 German Certificate to qualify for the Annerkenung (Recognition) and be recognized as a legitimate nurse.

At the moment, I still have language classes two times a week in preparation for my B2 exam next year (again, my employer was the one who decided on the exam date). When I get my B2 Certificate, then I can apply for the Annerkenung. While waiting for my B2 and Annerkenung, I’m currently working as a nurse assistant but is being trained with the tasks of a nurse.

 

How different is Nursing in Germany and in the Philippines?

Germany has a serious shortage of nurses because the locals are very smart and practical: they know the said work is painfully tiring and yet not compensated well. Of course, compared to what nurses back home earn (roughly Php 19,000 (300 Euros) and some even less), the 1,900 Euros salary of nursing assistants here in Germany is far-fetched. For Germans though, this amount is not very inviting as there are many other professions where they can earn more.

Based on my observations, this is how nursing in Germany and the Philippines are different:

    • In the Philippines, one has to finish a 4-year Bachelor Degree and take a licensure exam to be a registered nurse. Here in Germany, Nursing is considered a vocational course; training (Ausbildung) is done in the hospital for 3 years and then one has to pass an oral, written, and practical examination in exchange of a certificate stating that they are legitimate nursing professionals (Gesundheits und Krankenpfleger/Krankenschwester). Foreigners wanting to be nurses here in Germany would need to have a B2 German Certificate and pass the Recognition Exam (Annerkenung).
    • In the Philippines, all nurses in the stations are Filipinos. Here in Germany, you will find nurses from all over the world who just learned, in one way or another, to speak German. I have colleagues from Romania, Kazakhstan, Brazil, and a few from Germany.
    • In the Philippines, patients are commonly accompanied by their relatives during the entire admission. Here in Germany, the patients are mostly alone and their relatives just come for short visits.
    • In the Philippines, nurses initiate IV lines as well as administer IV medications and blood products. Here in Germany, doctors do them. Doctors are also the ones who extract blood for laboratory tests.
    • In the Philippines, nurses give the medications at bedside, unpack them on the patient’s palm, and watch that the patient correctly takes the medication. Here in Germany, we leave the medication trays, with all the tablets to be taken the entire day, at bedside. Germans are known to be very independent and disciplined so it’s really practical to do this. For patients though who aren’t as independent or oriented, medications are given under supervision.
    • Nurses here in Germany have undeniably more tasks than in the Philippines. Here are some of the tasks that nurses here do, which back home, we have other hospital personnel who do them:
GERMANY PHILIPPINES
Official endorsement Charge nurse (not the bedside nurses)
Washing of patients (in bed/toilet) Nursing assistants
Patient transport to and from the Operating Room OR nurse/couriers
Nebulization Respiratory therapists
Food tray/coffee distribution and collection Dietary personnel

 

DISCLAIMER: Back home, I only have four years of hospital experience from Manila Doctors Hospital and right now, I work for Klinikum Stuttgart so my comparison is limited to my experience within the walls of these two hospitals. I also did not include the differences in language and the salary (because that’s already a given fact, obviously) as well as the differences in technology because the equipment here isn’t very much different from what I’ve been exposed to.

Also, since I’ve just arrived here in Germany, my hospital exposure is very raw (about one month, more or less). Stay on this page as I will update this list from time to time.

Or… I can send you the updated link via email, you spoiled brat haha



Triple Win Project 4

Filipino nurses in Stuttgart and company

Final Words

There. Again, Germany has a serious shortage of nurses and if you’re patient enough to study an all-new language and work your heart out, then this might be for you. Honestly, I still have no long-term plans yet of whether to stay here or go home one day. In my heart, I am a writer and being a nurse is just one of the things I can do. Everything is still so new to me and I’m excited in discovering new things every day. For now, I’ll take baby steps, I’ll ace that B2 exam and Annerkenung next year then I’ll take it from there.

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Comment them below!

 

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