Csilla now works in a hospital’s intensive care nursery in Germany after leaving the Hungarian health care system behind.
At the beginning of this year, Daily News Hungary reported on several occasions on a newly implemented system offering new contracts to health care workers. The new system and the new regulations related to it caused severe turbulences in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision made many health care workers question their future plans in Hungary as a professional. As a consequence, in March, several thousands of them decided to quit their job; moreover, many of them even took another step and left the country right away for the possibility to pursue the career they had chosen.
A Hungarian nurse, Csilla, talked to Szeretlek Magyarország about her new life and experience since moving to Germany and working as a nurse in the premature intensive unit of a hospital upon refusing to sign the new contract she was practically forced to accept.
Csilla has a university qualification; she had worked for over 23 years in the Hungarian health care system.
She left the country a little over two months ago.
Unlike many, who did not have a chance and either signed the new contract or left the profession itself, Csilla continues doing what she loves.
Changing, however, was not easy. Partly for having been worked in the Hungarian system, especially during the worst times of the pandemic, which was incredibly challenging mentally, and partly because of the distance there is right now between her and her family. Furthermore, she left her country behind without a solid knowledge of the language.
She says she collapsed mentally when she decided not to sign the contract; she even suffered from post-traumatic stress.
She was unable to organise herself. She just had the urge no to do anything and stare at the ceiling so she would not have to interact with anyone, including her own family.
“It was a month during which I lost control; it was not irreversible, but I felt exhausted and negative. It was a good thing I did not start immediately at another place. It would have gnawed me.”
Meanwhile, she had to start working on her German. She applied through an intermediary company that helped her not only with her language skills but also with her housing. She continues going to German classes several times a week.
Even though she works in the same unit she did in Hungary, she says the job is entirely different in every aspect. Of course, there is a lot of work in Germany, as well, apart from a lot of expectations, still
the way people are treated is much different.
“For example, in the beginning, I lived far from the hospital. It was one and a half hours of commute, so I did not have to go to work at 6 am but for 9 am. They also change the schedule in a heartbeat if I need to go to a language class or I need to move from my apartment.”
She says, in Hungary, people are even afraid of being sick since no one could cover their shift. In Germany, they can always solve these issues.
They are working in a well-organised and precise system where she has not yet seen people losing their head.
Another considerable difference between the health care systems of the two countries is the concept of “there is no”.
She still has to get used to the situation where she opens the cabinet and has everything she needs to treat patients.
Even though the equipment she worked with in Hungary is all very professional, nice and modern, let it be a ventilator or a simple bed, there was always something missing, like nappies. In Germany, they are all at their disposal.
She is much better financially as well. Back in Hungary, she only used to work the evening shifts, with which she earned about 420 thousand forints net (around 1160 euros), including overtime payment, after 23 years of experience. During the day she had very little time to sleep, apart from caring for her two kids. Now, she earns around 2000 euros, but with very different conditions, working in three shifts of only 8 hours, as a nursing assistant, since she does not have her B2 language exam yet.
Even though she had to leave her two kids behind for a while, she says she still has more time for them to talk than she did in Hungary, despite only being able to do it online. She can pay much more attention to them as she is less tired and mentally stressed, which took away almost all her attention and kindness and left practically nothing for her own children.
Her priority right now is to solve the situation with her family so they can be together again. Her husband is already working on his language skills to follow her with their children, either to Germany or to move together to Austria.