Universität Bayreuth, Media release No 013/2021, January 25th 2021
Bayreuth students seeking to modernise the care sector and give care workers a voice
As part of a study project, students of the Philosophy & Economics (P&E) programme in Bayreuth have been developing ideas for social innovation. Their cooperation partner is Diakoneo, the largest diaconal organization in southern Germany employing a staff of around 10,000. A hot topic: the crisis in nursing care. In their podcast series, a team of students discusses real problems and possible solutions with experts.
The coronavirus crisis has brought it to a head: Germany is suffering from an acute shortage of nursing staff. Unfilled positions and absences due to illness - residential care managers quickly find themselves unable to ensure the well-being of their patients. This was already being discussed "before" the Corona crisis, now it is glaringly obvious.
Since April 2020, four teams of P&E students, led by Prof. Dr. Dr. Alexander Brink, Professor of Business and Corporate Ethics at the University of Bayreuth, have been working on the question of what innovations could make the nursing profession more attractive.
Laura Schorn, Silvia Klein, and Nadja Mittag have created "Eine Stimme für die Pflege " (a voice for nursing care) - a podcast series that lets the carers have their say. Indeed, the students find: "It is much more difficult for care workers to make their voices heard than for other professions, as going on strike would often mean abandoning old, sick, and weak people who depend on help." Moreover, they believe that care concerns us all, because "care is a basic need".
In their podcasts, the three Bayreuth students bring together care workers, representatives of associations and decision-makers, and research solutions for acute problems in the field of care. For example, they look at flexible working time models that can counteract the shortage of skilled workers by making it easier to reconcile work and personal circumstances. Yet digital innovations are also under discussion, as their use leaves more time for patient care.
The other teams are also working on interesting concepts for innovation. Anton Kradisch, Milan Haker, Markus Hesse, and Victor Hereth are working on the expansion and application of existing evaluation models for new care technologies in digital space. Central to this is translating Diakoneo's traditionally strong values into the modern age of "Digital Corporate Responsibility". Meanwhile, Leander Schneider, Paulina Albert, and Celia Kunkel are looking at social participation as an integral part of social enterprises and their potential as drivers of innovation. Meanwhile, Hannah Falter and Jonas Richarz make use of the organization's strong value positioning to investigate effective employer branding concepts.
"These topics show the students really have their hand on the pulse of the times and that they know how to tackle socially relevant issues in an innovative way. We are very happy to be able to participate in this," says Dr. Mathias Hartmann, Chairman of the Board at Diakoneo. Prof. Dr. Alexander Brink: "We have dedicated the P&E Think Tank to the social economy for the first time because we see great potential here. This definitely applies to the care sector." Ina Strickstrock, the CEO's advisor and point of contact for students, adds: “Working with the students is really fun. It's just nice to see how the ideas mature and how the students take input from practice and pour it into new concepts."
Background "P&E Think Tank"
The P&E Think Tank consults with a leading cooperation partner over the course of one year. In previous years, these have included Nokia, Daimler, Daimler Buses, Deutsche Bank, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Up to 15 selected students take part in the Think Tank every year. In small groups of no more than four, they develop social innovations at the interface of economics and philosophy together with their partner organizations.