Section 1: The GreenSkills4VET Learning Units

Challenges and Coping in Interaction Work – Social Sustainablity in Health Care

Author: HS Osnabrueck
Working on and with emotions can be very demanding. Learn how to activate your resources to cope with emotionally burdening situations in your professional work routine. The resource type of this unit is WebQuest (Zunal platform).
Link to the WebQuest

Learning Unit description


Title of the unit: Challenges and Coping in Interaction Work – Social Sustainability in Health Care
Sector: Health Care
Job-Title: For Examined Health and Sickness Care Professional, also Health Care Assistants.
EQF-Level: EQF 4&5
Resource type of the unit: WebQuest for group-work, afterwards presentation of the groups’ results in front of class
Media format: WebQuest including weblinks (text-material, such as PDF of studies, reports etc.)
Number of participants (min/max): 3-25
Description: How to stay healthy working as a health care professional? Working on and with emotions can be very demanding. The students can learn how to activate their resources to cope with emotionally burdening situations in professional work routine. The connection to the topic of sustainability, especially social sustainability, is made.
Keywords Health Care, Interaction work (Working on and with emotions), Demands, Burnout, Coping with Stress, Personal Resources and Environmental Resources, Salutogenesis
Justification with regard to the GreenSkills4VET Reference Framework (in terms of ESD): This unit, identifying emotional burdening situations and featuring resources for the prevention of psychological illnesses, leaving job and so induced care crisis in Europe, was considered appropriate for the development of objectives regarding ESD, following the EQF model. It negotiates economic and social sustainability aims.
Methodic approach: This Learning-Unit consist of 3 Parts:

  1. Classic lecture (Input & Self-Reflection: Worksheet included):
    • (Social) Sustainability – What has Health Care to do with it?
    • Interaction Work – Working on and with emotions
    • ILL Health Care? – A look at the figures
    • Stress + Coping – Lazarus‘ Transactional Model of Stress + Coping enhanced by a work psychology-perspective
      ➡ Resources – What gives you strenght in daily routine? (Reflection)
  2. Webquest & Flipchart-Preparation (Group-Reflection & “Inquiring Learning”)
  3. Presentation & Discussion with whole class
Timespan in total:
  • If you want to use the complete Learning-Unit Challenges and coping in Interaction Work with all its components and without any adjustments, you’ll need at least 3 Sessions of 90 minutes each: 2 sessions of 90 minutes in class plus a session of at least 90 minutes between them for working on the webquest in small groups.
  • The group session can be homework or take place in class, too, of course. The trainees we have been testing this unit with feedbacked they could easily imagine to work on a WebQuest like this for a week, too.


Learning Objectives with regard to the European Qualifications Framework



After completing this Learning-Unit, the trainee

  • Knows about models showing the interconnectedness of work demands, especially work involving emotions, and stress related effects, especially psychical stress effects.
  • Is aware of the fact that it’s not sustainable when health care professionals suffer from work-induced mental illness or drop out of the profession entirely (Which actually is the case – at an average – after 6 years, in some European countries, including Germany, even less. Keyword: Care crisis).
  • Reflects upon the fact that personal and environmental resources can generally be applied to cope with challenges to prevent stress / risk factors or to reduce impact.
  • Understands the ambivalent nature of interaction work for the well-being of nurses: a) Understanding the concept: What is interaction work? How to identify it? b) Understanding oneself: Without emotions, work can’t be satisfying, it would be unconfirmative. But if there are no resources available, nurses can overwork and burn out. Please note: Burnout-rates are high when neglecting the human interaction at all (See also: Keeping professional distance), so the aim should be to find some sort of balance individually.)



After completing this Learning-Unit, the trainee can

  • Adapt the idea and the principles of SD to considerations concerning the general and one’s own professional self-image in order to develop a sustainable oriented employability (“sustain employability”) .
  • Integrate sector-specific and societal substructures in professional considerations about personal capacity to act.
  • Identify goal conflicts when accessing different solution strategies.
  • Reflect upon the specific personal and environmental resources in her / his situation, which can be applied to cope with challenges, to prevent the emergence of stress / risk factors or to reduce impact.



After completing this Learning-Unit, the trainee can

  • Work towards solutions maintaining the benefits of all persons or groups of people involved (e.g. care-givers and care-receivers), when goal conflicts appear.
  • Ask for help, i.e. address upper management, when limits of own capacity is reached. This can count for strains in terms of the bearable personal limit in daily work routine as well as for limits of the personal sphere of influence in terms of meeting decisions to solve identified problems or conflicts.
  • Carry out disburdening behavior by being able (and empowered / allowed) to access personal and environmental resources within their workplace environment, especially in stressful situations.

Section 2: Methodological and didactic supplementary Materials

Additional individual methodological and didactic supplementary materials have been created for each learning unit, for example a short description in tabular form of each learning unit, explanations on pedagogical preconditions and learning objectives as well as learning outcomes regarding the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). If interested, you can download even more detailed information on the background to the learning unit, in particular the occupational scenario, as well as practical experience in the creation and testing of the unit by the project partner.
Methodological and didactic supplementary material 1
Methodological and didactic supplementary material 2
Methodological and didactic supplementary material 3

Section 3: The GreenSkills4VET OER Manual

The main aim of this manual is to empower teachers and trainers as well as students to new teaching and learning methods. It also informs about the new copyright applications in Open Educational Resources (OER).
Download OER manual

Section 4: Recommendations for the Evaluation of Learning Outcomes

How to assess the competences aimed at with this learning unit? The practical information for teachers and trainers shows our recommendations for evaluating the learning outcomes of the GreenSkills4VET LearnBox and refers to ECVET (The European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training) and EQF (European Qualifications Framework).
Download recommendations

Section 5: Limits of Translating OER

OER (Open Educational Resources) provide the possibility to freely share and reproduce learning materials tailored to your specific requirements without limiting you in terms of risking copyright-violations. When you aim at translating OER into other countries’ languages, there are other limits to be considered, nonetheless.
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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.