I was invited to the conference “Health economy as job engine  – Development and future perspectives of health professions” Invalid style attribute. at the FOM in Wuppertal on 22 January. Being scheduled alongside a former Harvard-professor, was a rare honor for me.

Beside representatives of health insurance companies, doctors, pharmacies, what could I add on the topic “Health economy as job engine”? My presentation focussed on the fact that in North-Rhine-Westphalia more than 70{ff8fe9fa9fd47083462fa99647f1a5e50a4f1b6870ded31f78bc1dff4e70d0d2} of the hospitals are run in denominational sponsorship. In the light of the striking skilled worker shortage in health economy, one essential question arises for this kind of institutions: Does Christian sponsorship rather attrack or discourage applicants?

The days in which a major number of doctors and carers exclusively wanted to work in Catholic or Protestant hospitals based on their religious conviction surely are over – if they ever actually existed. But are there still elements in a Christian hopsital’s corporate culture that could be attractive for emplyoees and differentiate those from other institutions?

In his presentation on this conference, Gerald Lux stated that what carers or nurses never wanted to hear was the remark that “no one takes this kind of job for the money it pays”.


Such a remark holds people hostage ethically, and inhibits a fair discussion about work conditions in care giving professions. Yet, this remark is true. Studies show that the pursuit of a health profession mostly is not based on money-related aspects but on a strong “inner general principle” (Hans Hobelsberger) regarding caring or medical ethics.

Can a denominational institution living an “external general principle” create an environment, in which – despite economic pressusre – this intrinsic orientation on patient welfare has more room to unfold? Is this question not more relevant to the job aspirations of “Generation Y” than for all generations before? And how is it possible to turn the general principal from a piece of high gloss paper into a strategic goal that is noticed and taken seriously?

Looking at it from this angle, there remains quite a lot to say about “Health economy as job engine”.