Region: Germany

Education instead of exploitation: Finally a #fairPJ in medical studies!

Petition is directed to
Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach/BMG, university hospitals & their teaching hospitals, Medical Faculty Association, Conference of Ministers of Health, Conference of Ministers of Education
102,286 supporters

Collection finished

102,286 supporters

Collection finished

  1. Launched July 2023
  2. Collection finished
  3. Prepare submission
  4. Dialog with recipient
  5. Decision

Education in crisis: we demand high-quality education for a sustainable healthcare system
Imagine walking into the emergency room and being co-treated by sick, overworked or overtired students. Currently, this is not unlikely. How would you feel about that? We advocate for fair conditions (#fairesPJ) to improve the education of future doctors and patient care in the long run. Support us in this now!
What is the problem? 
The practical year (PJ) is the last year of medical studies and is supposed to prepare for the practical professional life after ten theory-oriented semesters. However, the conditions in the practical year are in need of improvement in some fundamental points. Not only are students inadequately instructed and taught, but there is also no possibility to officially call in sick. In addition, many students receive no or such a low allowance for their full-time work during the practical year that they cannot even pay their rent. This enormous burden on many motivated students can endanger patients and significantly affect the health of future doctors. Approximately 20 - 35 % of the students in the practical year suffer from burn-out [1,2]. 
Good preparation for everyday professional life must not be a privilege, and certainly not a time marked by existential worries, in which one does not even have the time to be sick, among other things. 
Even the most motivated students need - in addition to their commitment - suitable framework conditions to become the doctors that the health care system needs!
For this we demand:

  1. The right to call in sick by separating sick and absent days in the Regulations for Medical Licensure, the regulation that determines the framework conditions of medical studies.
  2. A high quality education! Mentoring, supervision and teaching courses, as provided for in the drafts of the Regulations on Medical Licensure, must be implemented in a timely manner. 
  3. Many PJ students cannot make a living from full-time work in the hospital. It is essential that students are granted an allowance sufficient for basic needs. Therefore, we demand a nationwide expense allowance at least equal to the BAföG maximum rate.
  4. A minimum interval of four weeks between the end of the practical year and the third state examination, the final examination of the medical studies, because preparing for the state examination is not possible between door and door!


Future doctors need adequate training conditions, sufficient payment for their time and effort, and teaching that qualifies them. This is the only way to ensure an efficient health care system in the face of increasing challenges, such as the existing relative shortage of physicians, and to prevent the overwork and exploitation of students even before they start their careers.
The separation of sick days and absence days: Students are currently entitled to 30 absence days in the practical year, which include vacation days, sick days, child sick days and learning days [3]. 
This has serious consequences: Currently, medical students do not have the option to call in sick without using sick days for this purpose. Specifically, the current regulations result in students showing up sick for their PJ, potentially endangering their own health, that of their patients, and that of their colleagues. Therefore, we call for crediting of additional absences amounting to at least 10% of the total training time if there was an own illness, illness of the own child or of relatives [4].
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a similar exemption was found that must be applied not only to COVID-19, but also to other communicable infectious diseases in the future.
Create and implement standards for teaching during the internship year: 
After 10 semesters of predominantly theoretical studies, the PJ aims to prepare future physicians for the practical day-to-day work and the necessary medical skills. Teaching is therefore the essential aspect of a fair PJ and one of the most important adjusting screws of a sustainable healthcare system. 
To this end, it is particularly important to establish a widespread mentoring system, the training of students by medical specialists, and the continuous care of the students' own patients under supervision. Furthermore, a structured introduction of students to ward procedures is an equally important quality criterion, as are regular feedback meetings and discussions of training objectives based on the logbook prepared by the universities. Furthermore, additional night and weekend duties must be voluntary and the use of students to fill medical staff gaps must be prohibited.
Nationwide minimum expense compensation in the amount of the BAföG maximum rate:  
Many PJ students cannot even pay their rent from full-time hospital work. It is essential that students are granted an expense allowance sufficient for basic needs. Good preparation for the professional world should not be a privilege or require a part-time job in addition to a 40-hour week at the hospital. Nearly 30% of participants in a survey conducted by the Marburger Bund in 2023 stated that they depended on a side job to finance their living expenses. In addition, 77% reported being dependent on family support to afford the practical year [5].
Minimum interval between the end of the practical year and the third state examination: 
We call for a minimum interval between the end of the practical year and the third state exam of four weeks to ensure all students have sufficient time to prepare for the final medical school exam. The current gap of sometimes one week is insufficient to prepare for the final medical school exam.
For more background on the petition, more detailed explanations, as well as a comprehensive compilation of suggestions for improving the practical year [6], visit us at 
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at
Many thanks at this point also to @lin.a.tari for creating the petition picture.
Inital supporters:

  • Hartmannbund-Verband der Ärztinnen und Ärzte Deutschlands e.V.
  • Marburger Bund- Verband der angestellten und beamteten Ärztinnen und Ärzte Deutschlands e.V.
  • Spitzenverband Fachärzte Deutschlands e.V. (SpiFa)
  • Die Chirurginnen e.V.
  • Bundesärztekammer - Arbeitsgemeinschaft der deutschen Ärztekammern
  • Aktionsbündnis Patientensicherheit e.V.

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