Preparing effective addiction workforce: a challenge from the Czech perspective
Background: There were almost 500 academic programmes in addiction studies identified around the world in 2017, and so having the feedback how their graduates are successful in entering the labour market is a key assignment of the universities. The profession of „addictologist“ is still young, and so the feedback from the field, how successful the process of its integration is, has been missing.
Aim: The aim of the survey was to find out the employability rate of the Czech Addictology study programme graduates and the experience of various employers with the addictologists in practice.
Methods: The sample was created by two groups of respondents, the Addictology study programmes graduates and the employers from the addiction services system in the Czech Republic. In total, 18 organizations were included. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the respondents, data was trascribed, coded, cathegorized and described. The survey fulfilled criteria of the evaluation and case study. Ethical issues were kept.
Findings: Currently, 58% of Addictology graduates work in the field. The most works in the low-threshold and outpatient services, although they cover all types of services in the field. Only one organization out of 18 has no addictologist in the team. Half of graduates work on the position of „addictologist“, that has a significant relation to the payment contracts between the organization and health insurers. For employing the addictologist some system barriers need to be ovecome, especially when we consider employing the addictologist in the social services. Average month salary of the graduates without practice was 880 EUR in the organizations. The quality of education was evaluated as mostly high. Employers appreciated especially the healthcare knowledge and narrow specialization of the addictologists which means readiness and motivation for working in the field and so lower rate of labour turnover. One of the positive side effects of the profession of addictologist is a process of development of specialized outpatient services, that is one of the reasons why the demand for the profession of addictologist is high, employers are interested in employing the addictologists, yet their primary aim is to have the quality staff generally. 51% of the graduates in the field are members of the Czech Association of Addictologists (CAA), employers know about CAA, know its role and cooperate with it.
Conclusions: The survey brought a key information about the process of integration of the profession of addictologist into the labour market, the findings seem to show positive experience of employers with employing the addictology graduates, and their relatively high employability rate. Information related to the employment of addiction specialists can be used by the universities and addiction services for communication about the graduates – employers profiles and the practice needs.