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In-demand care staff often leave profession after five years


Facing a shortage of care staff in hospitals and nursing homes, Switzerland is seeking to make the profession more attractive. However, a new study shows that just a quarter of those who become qualified as care workers are still doing the job five years later.

The rest, according to longitudinal research published on Friday, are working elsewhere in the health care field and a fifth of those surveyed have left it altogether. The Swiss Observatory for Vocational Education and Training and OdASanté, the association for care workers, studied 2,000 such workers over five years to track their career choices.

The research begun in 2010 also showed that after seven years, up to a quarter of care workers will likely have left the profession. Care workers are responsible for assisting patients in nursing homes, hospitals and home care settings with everyday tasks and health-related maintenance.

The career path is consistently one of the most popular apprenticeships chosen by young people in Switzerland, 70% of whom seek vocational training after the end of mandatory schooling around age 15. However, there are still not enough care workers to meet demand.

Current predictions for the Swiss health care sector show that the country will require 20-30% more care workers – for a total of 220,000 – to serve the ageing population in hospitals and nursing homes in the coming years.

“For this reason, more qualified care workers need to remain in the health care sector,” the Observatory for Vocational Education and Training said in a statement.

As solutions, OdASanté and the vocational training observatory have proposed introducing more flexible work terms and educational opportunities into the care worker job, as well as allowing workers to easily switch among hospital, nursing home and private care settings.

swissinfo.ch and agencies/vdv