Buurtzorg, Health and social care, News

A day in the life of a Buurtzorg nurse


Public World last week hosted Buurtzorg nurse Alieke van Dijken in a series of events around England, including two seminars hosted at the Royal College of Nursing (pictured).

We really appreciate our collaboration with the RCN, and our latest events with them attracted nurse leaders from all around England keen to hear from Alieke what it is like to work at Buurtzorg.

They were full and frank discussions, which included tough questions such as how Buurtzorg’s self-managed teams handle poor performance by a colleague.

“Not so long ago we did receive some bad reports from clients about a particular new colleague,” she admitted, explaining that the team responded by discussing the problem among themselves. “When you get stuck you can ask a coach for help,” she added.

Buurtzorg has grown from its original team of four nurses in 2007 to more than 850 teams totalling more than 10,000 nurses today, improving care quality and reducing costs along the way, while winning Employer of the Year for four out of the last five years.

Public World is Buurtzorg’s partner in England and we are developing ‘test and learn’ projects with a number of NHS and social care providers and commissioners, including Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust in London.

Buurtzorg provides clinical and personal care in a holistic client-centred way, and Alieke said it was ‘thrilling’ to be able to do that.

Like many of her colleagues, she joined Buurtzorg to escape the ‘time and task’ approach that had undermined the professional vocation of nurses in the Netherlands just as it has done in community and domiciliary care in Britain.

Among the participants at the RCN seminars was Guy’s and St Thomas’s chief community nurse Cepta Hamm, who explained why her Trust is working to adapt and trial the model in its services in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark.

“If you give responsible people more responsibility they become more responsible,” she said, adding: “I am confident that if you put 12 nurses in a row and tell them to get on with it they will get on with it.”

Working successfully in self-managed teams also requires learning new skills and developing new mindsets, Alieke explained, and Public World is supporting the transition in England with such training.

You can find plenty more about Buurtzorg elsewhere on this site, and for more information, and to discuss how we might be able to help you, please contact us.