I am a second year nurse student and I’m completing two mandatory internships in Salzburg. The internships are clinical nursing and homecare, and the first one I had at the University Hospital of Salzburg on gynecological ward.
Working with the nurses was more challenging than I expected: I was hoping to get guidance in English, like I was told back in Finland. Soon I realized that this was not the case. Nurses on the ward spoke very little English, and few of them only used German while speaking with me. There was an opportunity to improve my German skills (even though the local dialect is very different from the common German we were taught at school), but regardless of this opportunity I really feel like I did not receive enough guidance to improve my nursing skills.
My working experience in Finland is not very vast, so it is hard to compare the working cultures between Austria and Finland, at least not in detail. What I can say is: working days here are longer, most of the time twelve hours, and on my ward nurses only had one break a day. I had a belief that the laws concerning the breaks during the working hours were very similar to Finnish ones, but once I got here I was told nurses on the ward didn’t have time to have any more breaks.
All in all, the first internship was not the most enjoyable of experiences, but I have high hopes of the second one. I’m enjoying my time a lot more in the homecare. The work is more relaxed in here than at the ward, and my colleague speaks excellent English and gives me consistent guidance that I need to become better at my work.
On my spare time I’ve tried to travel as much as I can. Austria is a very beautiful country, and there’s so much to see. Salzburg itself has a rich and long history, which I am interested to explore and learn about. The city lies between two small mountains and Festung Hohensalzburg, an iconic castle on one of them. Salzburg is a small city, it doesn’t take too many days to see more than one side of it, thus I have to use every free weekend traveling in other Austrian cities and near regions.