University College Ghent consists of 13 faculties and is a member of the Ghent University Association, which is a collaboration of 4 partner institutions and accounts for a total of 55,000 students and 8,500 members of staff. In Nursing, learners are frequently employed within the local hospitals and also within care settings in the community. The Department of Healthcare at the University College Ghent provides study opportunities for mature learners in nursing who work particularly in the community care setting, but also including nursing homes and hospitals.
The Belgian population is ethnically and cultural diverse, and this diversity is noticeable in health care services where the number of foreigners requiring health care assistance is increasing. Hospitals have more and more patients that do not speak the Belgian languages of Dutch, French or German and whose cultural background is different from that of the caregivers. Whilst migrant families currently often provide care support in their homes, there is a further predicted increase in the use of health facilities as carers themselves become older and families become more integrated into Belgian life. Increasingly, nurses are also working in partnership with unregistered health carers who have migrated. It is widely recognised that language and cultural barriers can have negative impact for the quality of care in the hospital. To solve these kinds of problems Belgium has adopted a scheme of having intercultural mediators and co-ordinators for intercultural mediation. Each year these intercultural mediators and co-ordinators participate in more than 65.000 interventions in 19 different languages. They can provide patients with language assistance and support in communication with health professionals in the hospital. They also can help the patients if anything in the treatment is unclear because of differences in social and cultural backgrounds.
TraNSforM will enable the participation of learners who are working in Belgian community and hospital care settings to contribute to the development of a skills framework which can help them to meet the challenges of supporting and developing unregistered migrant colleagues in the workforce, and with caring for an increasingly changing patient population as Turkey prepares to access the EU.