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)

EXPENSESAMOUNT
Printing and Photocopying of DocumentsPhp 105
Birth Certificate – PSAPhp 350
Certificate of Passing – PRCPhp 100
Course Description – Manila Tytana CollegesPhp 300
Translation of Documents and Certified True Copy – Locker Translation & Interpretation ServicesPhp 8,700
Medical Exam – Vizcarra Pharmaceutical Inc.Php 2,100
NBI ClearancePhp 130
Embassy PhotoPhp 85
VISAPhp 4,800 (reimbursed)
Pregnancy TestPhp 300
Affidavit of no pregnancyPhp 300
Notarization of B1 German CertificatePhp 100
POEA Processing FeePhp 5,217
OWWA Contribution for 2 yearsPhp 1,304.25
Philhealth Contribution – until May 2019Php 2,400
Pag-ibig MembershipPhp 600
TOTALPhp 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:

DATEACTIVITY
2016
August 4Submitted requirements @POEA
Sept 17Interview, contract signing for Triple Win Project 
Sept 28Triple Win Project Interview Result = Passed
October 7Database completion (online)
2017
Mar 9Endorsed for Employer Interview (Klinikum Stuttgart) via SMS
April 4Received SMS from Triple Win re start of German Language Class
April 5Start of A1 Class @Berlitz (4 hours class M-F, 2 mock tests)
April 24Skype interview with employer (Klinikum Stuttgart)
May 18End of A1 Class
May 19Start of A2 Class @Berlitz (6 hours class M-F, 5 mock tests)
May 23Employer Interview result = Passed
June 27A1 Goethe exam
July 4A1 exam result = Passed
Aug 8End of A2 Class
Aug 9Start of B1 Class @Berlitz (4-6 hours class M-F, 5 mock tests)
Sept 29A2 Goethe exam
Oct 5A2 exam result = Passed
Nov 24End of B1 Class
Nov 29B1 Goethe exam
Dec 11B1 exam result = Passed
Dec 13Triple 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 11Finally 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 13Received go signal from Triple Win to undergo medical exam
Mar 15Medical Exam at Vizcarra Pharmaceutical Inc.
Mar 20Received 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 26Took PEOS online exam @ home
Apr 5Emailed additional docs for translation/CTC (NBI Clearance and B1 Certificate) to Triple Win, for forwarding to Locker Translations
Apr 14Went to the Locker Residence in Marikina to claim translated documents
Apr 16 – 20Professional Orientation, Berlitz Ortigas
Apr 20Went to POEA to submit more docs and request for endorsement for PDOS
Apr 24Went 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 4Received 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 10Pre-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 28Went to Triple Win to claim E-ticket
June 1Went to POEA to:

Submit E-ticket

Pay fees

Pre-departure briefing

June 5Flight 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 granted my request to work part time and 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.

[Related post: How Being a Nurse Made Me a Better Writer and Vice Versa]

Triple Win Project 2

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

Related post: [STRICT German Language Teachers for Filipinos: Yay or Nay?]

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, Bosnia, and a few from Germany.
    • In the Philippines, we call our colleagues ‘Mam’ and ‘Sir’ as a sign of respect. Here in Germany, we call everybody by their first name and we use the less polite version of the language (Du). My Deutsch teacher explained this to me by citing a family as an example. He said that people working in one station have a close bond and treat each other like family so the first name and ‘du’ are used. At first, I found it comfortable but I slowly got used to it. Now, I call my head nurse and even the senior physician by their first names. So empowering.
    • In the Philippines, there is no specific time on when the nurses eat or take a break. I even remember instances when I was on my feet the entire 8 hours and there was not one chance to go to the bathroom to empty my own bladder. Here in Germany, nurses have a 30-minute break every shift. This time is fixed and all the nurses eat together in one room. During this time, the patients or even the doctors couldn’t interrupt (except in case of emergency, of course). Somehow, here in Germany, they understand that nurses are humans too.
    • In the Philippines, when a colleague couldn’t make it to work, one or more nurses would need to stay for another shift to cover for this deficit. Those poor nurses would then work for 16 hours straight (two shifts) and this happens when there’s a serious deficit in the staffing. Here in Germany, the nurses fill out ‘on-call’ forms where they give the station the permission to call them during their day off so they can come in case a colleague couldn’t make it. This is very important as there are very few hospital personnel here so the nurses do a lot of things: the work is extremely tiring and it could be impossible to stay for another shift. It’s also common for nurses here to work on Spaetdienst (PM shift) and then Fruehdienst (AM shift) the next morning. Yes, only 10 hours interval. I already did this for about four times and it wasn’t easy. It was so tiring and I couldn’t function properly. How the others do it? I have no idea.
    • 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. I find this really troublesome. I also notice that some patients get depressed and this could contribute to why they feel weak and had to stay long in admission.
    • 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:
GERMANYPHILIPPINES
Official endorsementCharge nurse (not the bedside nurses)
Washing of patients (in bed/toilet)Nursing assistants
Patient transport to and from the Operating RoomOR nurse/couriers
NebulizationRespiratory therapists
Food tray/coffee distribution and collectionDietary 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.

[You can read the rest of my Nursing-related blog posts here]

Also, since I’ve just arrived here in Germany, my hospital exposure is very raw (about two months – as of September 2018). 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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