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Developments for our colleagues

There were some significant developments for our colleagues in 2021:

A new CLA established

In 2021, the new UMC CLA 2022-2023 came into being after a long negotiation process between unions and the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centers (NFU). The unions made use in the process of their right act for better labor conditions. Two action days were also organized at UMC Utrecht. The period in which the new collective labor agreement or CLA came into being was intense for many colleagues. And due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was a difficult time in which to take action. All hands were on deck to provide care to COVID patients and to allow regular care to continue insofar as possible.

The outcome of the negotiations was a good CLA, with a differentiated remuneration scheme. In particular for the middle group in primary care functions, a higher structural wage increase was agreed upon. The agreement also contains structural wage increases for all colleagues.

The new CLA further pays specific attention to the vitality of healthcare staff, for example by including more rest periods in schedules, and to make self-scheduling the norm. In this last respect, UMC Utrecht has already been a forerunner for some time. It was also agreed to develop a scheme in terms of one or more generations. UMC Utrecht already had a scheme in 2021 for experienced, older professionals. This scheme will be reassessed in 2022. Due to COVID, working from home has become a fixture for colleagues who have a job that can also be done at home. In the new UMC CLA, a compensation of EUR 2 has been agreed upon for every day that an employee works from home.

The technically complex CLA was implemented in a short time, and came into effect on 1 January 2022. The different components of the CLA will be worked out in 2022.

working from home has become a fixture for colleagues who have a job that can also be done at home

Care bonus

As a token of appreciation for the exceptional performance of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Public Health, Science and Sport (VWS) has released a second care bonus for these professionals. In relation with NFU, UMCs have translated this second scheme from the VWS ministry. Based on this, UMC Utrecht has requested the care bonus from the VWS ministry for colleagues and externs who are eligible for it, and it was subsequently paid out in November 2021.

Christmas bonus

As an extra token of thanks and appreciation, UMC Utrecht paid out a Christmas bonus of EUR 500 net to all colleagues at the end of 2021. Because everyone had made effort to let the work continue during COVID-19, which was a tremendous and real team achievement. The bonus could be paid out due to a one-off financial windfall, which was the sale of one of our placements. The action was highly appreciated by the staff. Also due to the explanation of our Executive Board, in which general appreciation for each person’s contribution was emphasized.

Hybrid working

Our approximately 2,300 colleagues with office or research jobs had to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. On the one hand, employees missed live meetings and found it nice when in the summer of 2021 we made a careful, partial return to the office. On the other hand, colleagues find that working from home brings a better work-life balance and that they are more productive. We therefore decided in 2021 to switch to hybrid working once COVID was over: partly from home or elsewhere, and partly at the office (40-60%). With this new way of working, we are stimulating connection between colleagues, independent of the place and time, and and connecting worlds. This contributes to creating a good place to work, and to achieve our goal of creating the healthcare of the future.

To connect colleagues optimally when they are working in hybrid fashion, we ensured a proper preparation in 2021 in terms of ‘bricks, bytes and behavior’. Bricks stands for accommodation: the office as an inspiring place to get together, that stimulates knowledge-sharing and cooperation. In our strategic development outlook for accommodation <link naar onderdeel huisvesting in jaarverslag> we have ensured that office spaces are laid out in such a way that they will be used efficiently, flexibly, and geared towards activity. With bytes we are focusing on digitalization and IT support, so that anything that can be done from home, is done properly. We therefore implemented MS Teams in 2021, and organized webinars to get colleagues on board with all the digital possibilities. Lastly, we looked at the way in which we (co-)work (i.e. our behavior) by establishing frameworks in which we work autonomously. And in supported teams with interactive workshops on how to make good work agreements and work together optimally in a hybrid way.

Future-proof nursing

In 2020 we established a four-year program for Future-proof nursing . With this program for and by nurses, we focus on changing healthcare demands and our changing role as an academic center in the care chain. These changes bring opportunities and challenges for our nurses. To respond in time to this as an organization, a repositioning of the nurse is essential: in line with the wishes of nurses, the demands of care, and the possibilities of innovation. Hereby we ensure that our nursing care is future-proof. The program kicked off in 2021.

we focus on changing healthcare demands and our changing role as an academic center in the care chain

In the scope of the Future-proof Nursing program, three nursing teams/departments started working in 2021 as a pilot with the new function of direction nurse. The function combines care tasks with non-patient-related tasks such as developing the quality of nursing care, evidence-based practice, expertise development, and intervision. This ensures further professionalization of the field and the development, work satisfaction and preservation of our colleagues. The results of these pilots are very positive. Both the nurses concerned and the patient groups in question experience it as an improvement.

In addition, 16 departments investigated how nursing team of the future will look in terms of composition, and what is needed to give a more prominent role to innovation in their activities. The outcome is that more direction nurses are needed, and that almost all teams understand the possibility and added value of using caregivers, while nurses maintain the overall patient policy. We also charted the career paths of nurses and looked at which supplementary career paths we want to create in order to offer nurses more opportunities to develop. For example career paths where care, research and education are combined. We have also started with intervention meetings for leaders of nursing departments, where colleagues can learn from each other, and with academic work places: incubators for nursing innovation. The first results will become visible in 2022. Two divisions also started with a trainee program for beginner nurses. It appears to be a good approach to attract and retain nurses. Lastly, a number of nurses have started with a course in nursing sciences. In this way, we are working on making UMC Utrecht a great place to work for nurses, who are so essential, and ensuring that it stays that way.