Hundreds of healthcare students considering quitting after bad internship experience

Hundreds of healthcare students are considering quitting their studies due to unpleasant experiences at their internship, according to an interim report from the Intern Abuse hotline set up by trade union FNV. The hotline opened on November 3rd. So far there have been 540 reports of abuse, NOS reports.

The most frequently heard complaint is that interns are used as full-fledged employees. "Especially during vacations and illnesses of employees, they are often scheduled as a full worker," FNV director Cor de Beurs said to the broadcaster. There are also reports of unsafe situations, for example interns left to provide complex wound care for patients without them being trained or prepared for it. 

According to FNV, many students do not dare to complain for fear of a negative assessment. But irresponsible situations during an internship can have serious consequences for both students and patients, the union said.

One student, who interned at a institution for people with disabilities, told the union: "I was kicked and beaten by clients and sometimes scheduled for six consecutive days, while I also had to go to school one day a week. I'm a single mother and couldn't manage it. I got burned out and them my contract was ended."

Another student, who interned in home care, said she was sent to visit clients alone after two weeks and had to perform actions that she was not capable of. "I had to treat the wounds of a gentleman with two amputated toes, while I had only had theory lessons on this at school," she said. "When I shared my doubts with my internship supervisor, she said she was confident that I would do well."

The hotline also received complaints from internship supervisors, saying that they were assigned interns without any consultation and just had to make time for it.