A couple of years ago we featured the process of converting your Kenyan nursing training into the German Ausbildung equivalent. The last process we shared was from Darmstadt in Hessen. This time we share the experience from Maxwell that carried out the process in Freiburg in Baden-Württemberg.
Maxwell started out his training as a nurse with a certificate before doing a diploma before moving to Germany. He is currently a general nurse, having worked for 5 years in the normal Neuro surgical unit before moving to ICU 3 years ago.
Qualification from Kenya
I had went through the long process because I come from a simple family.
I did my Enrolled Community Health Nursing in West Pokot and graduated in 2004, worked for a year and enrolled for a Distance Upgrading course to Registered Community Health Nurse and graduated in 2007. I immediately moved to Freiburg on a language school visa to do a German course.
The Certificate in Community Health Nursing is a certificate program that runs for 30 months and qualifies you to become a Kenya Enrolled Community Health Nurse (KECHN).
The Diploma in Nursing in Kenya is a diploma program that runs for 42 months and qualifies you to become a Kenya Registered Community Health Nurse (KRCHN).
Other nursing programs offered in Kenya are listed on the Nursing Council of Kenya’s website.
Difference between the Nursing training in Kenya and Germany
The difference to note is, in Germany you cannot be an all rounder nurse like in Kenya. In Germany, midwives are trained separately, paediatrics nurses have a different training and general nurses have theirs’ (it’s all still old style).
Working in geriatrics must be a lot easier but then you will be confined to elderly homes which are a waste after a KRCHN training in Kenya.
Getting the process started
To get my Kenyan Nursing training Recognized in Germany, I had to go through the usual paperwork madness with the Regierungspräsidium, who will go through your transcripts before giving the go ahead to convert. Usually they give you a list of institutions where you can have your qualifications converted.
I went to the nursing schools on the list given by the Regierungspräsidium but every school had different requirements, one even told me I had to enroll and do the training afresh which I refused. All the other Hospitals around wanted me to go back to class.
I then asked someone I knew from the Uniklinik Freiburg and they got me an internship for 4 months at the institution. I was well vast in Cardio and got lucky to be posted there for my internship, got good mentors and interacted and leaned with nursing school students who helped me a great deal prepare well for the exams.
Uniklinik Freiburg was NOT on the list given to me by the Regierungspräsidium.
I had prepared well meaning i had my B1 from Goethe institute, a 4 months internship at a nursing home and the fact that i had just finished my nursing exams a year earlier in Kenya meant I was fresh with theory knowledge which came in handy.
After the internship I was able to do a practical Exam and an Oral exam.
The exam format was identical with those meant for regular students but I was spared the Theory Exam. The school you take the exam at is at liberty to decide whether to put you through the theory exam or not. though depending on how many theory hours you had to test you in other areas.
After the exam which went well, my results were sent to the Regierungspräsidium, who then sent me my nursing Certificate.
The Regierungspräsidium was not helpful at all. Talk to Hospital nursing directors or nurse managers directly. Gov agencies are a disaster.
My conversion took 5 Months in total but the preparation begun way back in Kenya. I did my KRCHN in Kenya, the B1 language tests and the translations earlier.
I knew I could not work as a trained nurse in Germany as an Enrolled community health nurse and upgraded to the KRCHN.
Be patient and hard working and have a Plan. The conversion process works, not as quickly or through shortcuts as we know back home but slowly and steadily.
The option of doing BSc. Nursing is then open to you after conversion or specializing in ICU, OP Theatres, Oncology, or Nursing Management. I hope my experience will help one or 2 people stay afloat.
All the best Maxwell Sultan