What constitutes life experience for you

"I can learn from your life experience"

Ms. Süßmilch, you work with the elderly. How are your experiences?

Working with older people is demanding and demanding, but my patients give me a lot in return. In hospital, seniors often stay in a geriatric ward for up to 3 weeks. As a result, you work together over a long period of time every day and of course you build a relationship with one another. The elderly tell me a lot about themselves and their lives. I can often learn from their life experience. They are grateful for the time and effort I put into their therapy. And such appreciation is of course very nice.

How did it come about that you specialized in working with older people during your studies?

At the beginning of my physiotherapy studies, I wanted to work with young patients or in the field of physical therapy. However, through an internship in geriatrics, I quickly realized that working with older patients in particular is very interesting for me. Seniors often have multiple illnesses and complex clinical pictures, which make therapy difficult or the patients can no longer move as well. Then you have to think carefully about which therapeutic measures are possible and suitable, but still effective. That is exciting, demanding and for me the reason why I want to work with older people.

Do you already know what you are going to write your bachelor thesis about?

From October I will probably carry out a study in a hospital with a fellow student in which we will examine and analyze the effects and effects of fall prevention measures in older patients in a geriatric hospital ward. Because in order to be able to make the best possible progress with patients, it is important to use the therapy time available with really effective therapy measures.

What is your best memory so far?

I have a lot of wonderful memories and a lot of positive moments with patients in my head when I look back on my internships. Seeing progress in patients and sharing the joy of it with them is of course always a great reward in this profession. Patients often wrote me little thank you cards when I left. That was of course a particularly nice recognition and has always touched me very much. And of course I kept all the cards.

The University of Health is the only state university in Germany to offer the subjects of occupational therapy, midwifery, speech therapy, nursing and physiotherapy as bachelor's degrees - directly after graduation without prior training.

Why did you choose the University of Health in Bochum?

The "hsg", as the university is abbreviated, was founded in November 2009 and is therefore still a very young institution - we only moved to the brand new and large health campus last year. Much is still in the "structure" and as a student you can actively contribute to the design of the course. In the end, this is the only way to promote the academization of the health professions. Theory and practice are closely interlinked. During my studies, I did various internships over a period of 32 weeks. Here I was able to apply the theoretical knowledge from the semester directly. Studying physiotherapy at the hsg is demanding, time-consuming and demanding. But if you are willing to put a lot of work and initiative into it, you can be sure of a really very good education.

What does "age" mean to you?

Unfortunately, age is often understood too negatively. It doesn't have to be, because a number like 70, 80 or 90 hardly says anything. I have often had very old patients who have totally surprised me at how fit they were and with how much energy and enthusiasm they participated in the therapy. Of course, there are also "negative surprises" from time to time. Age is - to a certain extent - what you make of it yourself. And that in turn can by no means be linked to a number.

Kirsten Süßmilch has been studying physiotherapy (B.Sc.) at the University of Health in Bochum since 2013. She passed her state examination in summer 2016 and will write her bachelor thesis in the upcoming winter semester and finish her studies in early 2017.