Lauterbach proposes enhancing nurses' medical abilities through legislation

Wed 20th Dec, 2023

Image by Julio Cesar Velasquez Mejia from PixabayFederal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach of the SPD has proposed a legislative initiative to expand the medical competencies of highly-skilled nursing professionals in Germany. Lauterbach emphasized that the current scope of practice for nursing staff in the country is restrictive compared to their potential capabilities. He stated that the forthcoming Nursing Competence Act aims to enhance the influence and decision-making authority of nursing professionals in clinical settings.

The main provisions of this legislative proposal are nearing completion, according to the Health Minister, with the finalized draft expected to be released in the upcoming first half of the year. Among the specific reforms outlined, Lauterbach envisions empowering nursing professionals to provide dietary guidance and exercise greater autonomy in devising wound care strategies. Additionally, nurses would have the discretion to determine the appropriate use of specific medical supplies, such as dressings, ointments, and catheters.

Furthermore, Lauterbach highlighted the potential for skilled healthcare workers with specialized training to play a more direct role in dementia patient care. He also indicated that individuals with advanced academic qualifications, equivalent to master's degrees, could assume managerial responsibilities in healthcare facilities and have the authority to prescribe certain medical devices or medications. A review process is also underway to consider granting nursing staff the responsibility for assessing the level of care needed by patients.

In advocating for these reforms, Lauterbach emphasized the broader implications for Germany's healthcare system, suggesting that aligning the country's nursing practices with international standards could enhance its appeal to qualified professionals from abroad. He acknowledged that current recruitment challenges, including language proficiency requirements and insufficient childcare facilities, are exacerbated by the limited scope of practice for nursing specialists in Germany compared to other European nations.

Image by Julio Cesar Velasquez Mejia

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