Medically-trained refugees to fill staff shortages in cardiology departments
From this month, the Cardiology Centers Netherlands (CCN) and Amsterdam UMC are shortening the echocardiography training for refugees with a medical background. They believe that refugees with medical experience can complete the training twice as fast, which will help them find work more quickly and help fill staff shortages in cardiology departments, NOS reports.
Aernout Somsen, cardiologist and co-founder of CCN, came up with this idea after realizing that there are many doctors and nurses among refugees. "I thought, why don't we retrain those people to become echocardiographers to solve the shortage of these specialized people?"
People with cardiovascular diseases face long waiting times due to these staff shortages, she said. "For those people, you often need an ultrasound to see how their heart is doing with the pump function or the valve function. That is an important part of diagnostics. That important process is stalled because we have too few people who can do an ultrasound."
Somsen teamed up with the philanthropic institution Goldschmeding Foundation to develop special, shortened training for refugees with a medical background. "After all, we want to fill up the shortage of ultrasound technicians quickly. These newcomers have a great deal of skill and knowledge, so they can quickly reach the required level. We want to train four new echocardiographers every six months. When they obtain their diploma, they automatically get a job with us."
Erna Kruseman is the project leader at the Echocardiography Academy. She hopes that hospitals across the country will join the initiative. An average training week includes three internship days where an experience echocardiographic teaches the trainees the intricacies of the trade. "We as CCN provide the training and supervision during the self-study days. So the only thing we need to scale up training further is extra internships with supervisors. Only hospitals can provide these. So if there is interest, please let us know."
Ivan Ursu (52) was a doctor and university lecturer in Moldova before moving to the Netherlands 10 years ago. Here he gave up on a medical career because of how complicated it was to get his diplomas recognized. The Echocardiography Academy turned out to be the ideal solution for him. "I am finally working with patients again, and that gives me such a good feeling," he said to NOS. "I have found my place again. Where I was a seen person in Moldova as a doctor, I was in a bit of a vacuum here. That is now over. My kids are proud too. Dad's working."