EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Elias Hospital, Romania: Training and development


Case study name: 
Ageing workforce
Organisation Size: 
Health and social work
Target Groups: 
Other non-manual
Initiative Types: 


Organisational background


Elias Emergency University Clinic Hospital was established in 1936 as part of the bequest of Jacques Elias, a well-known businessman and intellectual, to the Romanian Academy. At the same time, Elias Emergency University Clinic Hospital established a partnership with the Emergency University Hospital in Bucharest.

Elias Emergency University Clinic Hospital is a public healthcare services institution. In terms of employment and career development, it operates an equal opportunities policy regarding both age and sex.

In 2004, some 1,181 people were employed at the hospital and, by autumn 2005, the staff numbers had risen to 1,300 people, with the following profile:

  • 738 are between 18 and 45 years of age;
  • 562 are over 45 years old;
  • 152 have university degrees;
  • 513 have completed secondary schooling;
  • 305 are auxiliary medical personnel;
  • 108 work in administration;
  • 223 are unskilled.

Women constitute approximately 80% of the total workforce. Remuneration is dependent upon age, education and experience.

The major decisions are approved by the board, whose members discuss issues with the department managers and the trade union representative. The trade union representative has the important role of negotiating between the board and the employees; his opinion also has a significant influence when the board is taking major decisions regarding the general interests of the institution.

Good practice today

Elias Emergency University Clinic Hospital aims to become:

  • a flagship for European medicine;
  • a medical care reference centre in Bucharest;
  • a place where innovation, perseverance and honesty are basic concepts serving medical care objectives;
  • a high-profile postgraduate education environment;
  • an institution in which each employee is eager to work and give their support to benefit the public.

A two-year training and development project for medical personnel aged between 35 and 45 years was introduced in 2004. The project objectives are accomplished through training courses, seminars or symposia held in Romania or abroad; courses are also run within the hospital. According to the hospital, almost 500 employees have gone through the training project.

One of the project initiatives is a multinational research study: ‘Reduction of atherothrombosis for continued health’, involving employees from the neurology and cardiology departments attending specialist courses abroad (many European and other countries are taking part in the study – for instance, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.) In Romania, the research is carried out in 18 centres, including Bucharest, Iasi, Timisoara, Cluj and Brasov. As part of the research, physicians and research assistants from the hospital’s neurology and cardiology departments have analysed the risk of atherothrombosis, examining a group of patients every three to six months over a two-year period. The patients in question are all aged over 45 years.

The hospital’s training project was undertaken to fulfil certain requirements for Romania’s accession to the European Union. Elias Emergency University Clinic Hospital aims to reach European standards in terms of the quality and diversity of its medical services. Thus, the organisation is prepared to improve its existing medical departments and to establish new ones; to offer services of high quality, staff are required to attend training and development courses.

The hospital’s board and the employees’ representatives initiated the training project, which was designed for nurses, doctors and medical lecturers who will continue to work for at least another 20 to 30 years. The training relates to ongoing changes and developments in the field. This particular age group, it is believed, has a higher capacity for acquiring current medical techniques and methods. The participants in the training courses are predominantly women (85%), a result of the high proportion of women in the healthcare sector.

The board considers that staff training and development will improve the quality of medical services, especially those that may have been hitherto neglected. As outside financial support is limited, payable services are offered to as many patients as possible. This is acceptable to the public as long as high medical and professional standards are evident.

The employees and the employer cite the following as benefits of the training: personnel skills improvement; professional development in, or introduction, to different medical specialisations; and increased efficiency. A possible risk for the institution is that employees may leave once they have received the specialist training, which is funded by the hospital. In this way, the institution could be in danger of losing a significant number of its specialists.

Development of the case study

This initiative follows on from previous ones, such as:

  • the fostering of intergenerational relationships by creating joint teams of younger and older employees (with special training courses for both groups);
  • training courses on different specialisations, involving older employees.

In the past, these training courses were partly paid for by the employees who were attending them. Now, the institution and sponsors cover the full cost of training. Today, a greater number of training courses in different specialisations are offered either abroad or in Romania.

Further information


  • Popescu Maria, Human Resources Manager
  • Daniela Safta, Medical Deputy Manager
  • Florica Ionita, SANITAS Trade Union leader


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