How much free time do anesthesiologists have

"There are fewer doctors. And those who are there also work less. Or no, not less, but regularly."

Valentina is an assistant doctor in further training for anesthesia, intensive care medicine and pain therapy. Her working time is 40 hours a week and she has 30 days of paid vacation a year. Once a year she is entitled to one month of unpaid leave.

For a coffee with Valentina, an assistant doctor in Berlin

Valentina loves her job, you notice that immediately when you listen to her. She is an assistant doctor in advanced training for anesthesia, intensive care medicine and pain therapy. She works 40 hours a week and has 30 days of paid vacation a year. Once a year she is entitled to one month of unpaid leave. There is still time for herself, a long visit to the family in Italy, sports and friendships. Sounds good? It is, she says.

Berlin is known to be a village. Once you've met, you keep bumping into each other. In cafés, pubs or clubs - you see each other, say hello, and at some point you just know each other. It was roughly the same with Valentina, with whom I went looking for a reasonably quiet café this Saturday at brunch prime time in Friedrichshain to talk to her about her professional situation. I've known for a long time that she is a doctor, and for a long time I've wondered what the truth is about the stories about constantly overworked people in white coats, miserable working conditions and horror shift schedules - are they still relevant? And how do young doctors deal with such high work pressure? What is actually important to them? And what opportunities do you have to develop personally in the profession you have chosen? I then asked similar questions to Valentina, who spoke to me in a good mood and fairly rested about her own career, her professional situation and her ambitions. And what she has to tell sounds pretty exciting first, and pretty relaxed second.

From Italy to Berlin - a challenge

Valentina studied medicine in Italy. The six-year course there is largely theoretical, she tells me. There is no practical year. When she came to Germany three years ago after completing her studies, she had to catch up on a lot - you expect her to be able to do many things and take on responsibility from the start. Even at the beginning she was always very exhausted after work. But then things got better over time and she learned everything well and got it under control. In her fifth year of study, she had already completed an Erasmus year in Göttingen. She became really aware of the differences between the countries in terms of training there for the first time: "First of all, how the course is structured in Germany: We were suddenly allowed to do a lot more, also with the patients maybe a little better, and it all made a better impression on me. So I decided to go to Germany after graduation and not stay in Italy. "

"It really never gets boring"

Another three-month Erasmus stay in Berlin makes it clear to her: this is the city in which I want to live. When she finally left Italy, Valentina had no doubt that the job in Berlin would work. She first has to have her license to practice recognized and take the specialist language test with the medical association: "But honestly, I was so motivated, I just knew that everything would work out."

"Why exactly anesthesia, intensive care medicine and pain therapy?" I would like to know from her. "I've always been fascinated by that. It's a very interesting subject and I'm very satisfied with it. It's more difficult than expected, but it's also really fun. I'm a person who needs something varied, and I've found that too . It really never gets boring. " Then she explains to me the specifics and tasks of the individual areas in which she works: which types of anesthesia there are, what to look out for, how to deal with critically ill patients and how to deal with chronic pain. "With all the monitors and ventilators around me, I sometimes feel like an airplane pilot," she says, describing her feeling at work.

Innovative vacation arrangements for maximum relaxation

When Valentina starts her job, the workload is much higher than it is now. This is not only due to the fact that she has to catch up with a lot of what German doctors already learn in their practical year. First of all, she agrees to the opt-out regulation and declares that she is ready to work more than the maximum 48 hours per week stipulated by the legislator. This quickly increases the average weekly working time to 60 hours. "But that is actually a lot. Of course you also earn more." Valentina finally decides to revoke the opt-out regulation. Since this is a voluntary service, there are no disadvantages. Now she works full-time, 40 hours a week, plus on-call duty, which means it can be 60 hours. "But then with time off. If you have 24-hour on-call duty, the day after is free and you then have hours on the hourly account that are compensated with free time. That works." Your vacation entitlement is 30 days. In addition, your clinic offers the opportunity to take a month off unpaid once a year. This is ideal for Valentina. "I set the month in advance so I can take a long vacation with my family by the sea. And I spread my regular vacation days over smaller periods over the year. I prefer to take just two or three days off more often."

She emphasizes that her work-life balance is very important to her. She needs this in order to be able to concentrate one hundred percent on her work when she is in the clinic. It is important for them to have enough time to exercise and see their friends. But she also describes it as part of a current, generational problem. In addition to the shortage of doctors, there is also a growing awareness of the younger generation for a balanced relationship between work and private life: "But this is also a concept of the younger generations - it wasn't like that back then, doctors really worked much more And that is also a problem: there are fewer doctors. And those who are there also work less. Or no, not less, but in accordance with the rules. "

Neither career nor family, but work-life balance

When I asked about her plans for the future, Valentina told me that she would now like to concentrate on her medical exam and then maybe gain professional experience in a larger clinic. You've also thought about a branch, but that's difficult in anesthesia. And career? "I tend not to see myself in a management position. I want to maintain my work-life balance. That has nothing to do with family planning, I'm not planning a family at the moment."

"What would you like to change in your day-to-day work if you could?" I ask her. "I like it the way it is. It is very varied. One day we are in the operating room, then maybe we do more general surgery, then more gynecology, then there is the consultation hour, then we have night duty or maybe on-call duty. Time flies fast." Valentina laughs: "But there is one thing I would change if I could: I would like to have an hour lunch break instead of a half-hour break. After all, I'm Italian, I just need more lunch break". I find immediately plausible. And very personable.


And what does your job mean to you?
If you would also like to tell us something about your career, your day-to-day work or your ambitions, write us!
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