The German Nurses Association DBfK


Building a strong and self-confident nursing profession

The German Nurses Assosiation DBfK is the largest independent association for professional nurses in Germany. We are proud to represent a large community of nurses who, through their actions, safeguard fundamental values today and tomorrow: Dignity, Health and Self-Determination.

That is why we are committed to the ICN Code of Ethics for Nursing Professionals.

Our members are nurses who strive to advance their profession – professionally and politically. Our educational and consulting services support our members in their professional development and goal achievement.

The DBfK has a federal structure. The four regional associations and the federal association are each independent associations that pursue common goals and strategies in their work.

About DBfK – The German Nurses Association

The German Nurses Association was founded in 1903 by Agnes Karll and became a founding member of the International Council of Nurses (ICN). In 1909, Agnes Karll was elected president of ICN.
Over the years, DBfK has changed its name several times and is presently called “Deutscher Berufsverband für Pflegeberufe” (German Organsiation of Nursing Professionals). It is the largest free professional nurses' association in Germany.


Following the federal system of Germany, the German Nurses Association consists of one federal and four regional offices. The regional branches deal with all requests of the individual membership and are responsible for all matters with regard to regional legislation. The federal office is entrusted with national and international affairs.
The governing body of DBfK is the General Assembly of Delegates. The delegates are elected by the members of the regional branches and of delegates from the 12 groups structured by different fields of nursing practice (e.g. psychiatric care, intensive care, community care, nursing education). The General Assembly takes place once a year and every four years it elects the president and four members of the board of directors. The four Presidents of the regional branches are members of the federal board of directors, too. The national and regional offices are directed by Chief Executive Directors who are nurses by background.

Objectives and Activities

The German Nurses Association aims

  • to represent the interest of its members in relation to employers, authorities, and other organisations
  • to advise regional, national and international legislative bodies on nursing matters
  • to improve working conditions for nurses
  • to provide information on professional developments
  • to promote professional standards and quality management by improving basic and post basic education for nurses
  • to offer its members possibilities to maintain a high level of professional competence, such as seminars, post basic courses, workshops, congresses etc.
  • to support nursing research by co-operating with universities and nursing research institutes
  • to formulate and promote ethical standards for the profession
  • to make society aware of the importance, the contribution, achievements and efficiency of professional nursing
  • to develop strategies and policies for the promotion and development of nursing
  • to demonstrate the power of nursing within the health care system through innovative concepts like family health nursing, advanced nursing practice, case management and others
  • to co-operate with national and international organizations of nursing and health care.
  • Membership

The nursing profession in Germany is built by three branches of nurses (general nurse, pediatric nurse and geriatric nurses). Every nurse, as well as nurse students and nurse assistants, can apply for membership.
Members not only participate in the process of policy making but can also take active part in the professional development of their special field of nursing.

DBfK renders the following services to its members:

  • individual professional and legal counselling
  • legal protection insurance
  • professional liability insurance
  • educational programmes
  • publication of a monthly nursing journal, newsletters and a website
  • information on new developments and trends
  • participation in national and international conferences
  • counselling and information service for nurses wanting to work abroad
  • membership in ICN and other international nursing organisations.

In order to attain its objectives, the association runs several institutes. The regional branches hold institutes for education and training whereas the federal office has its own publishing department being responsible for editing the DBfK-aktuell column in Germans most readed nursing journal “Die Schwester | Der Pfleger”.

National and International relations

DBfK is recognized by local, regional and national governments as an independent organisation for the nursing profession. Its experience and advice is sought on every important matter related to health care, e.g. legislation, education, human resource planning and the allocation of financial resources in the field of nursing. Representatives of DBfK participate and give their opinion in government committees on nursing, health care and social affairs, education and labour issues.

In addition to its network across Germany, DBfK is a well-integrated part of the international network of nurses. DBfK represents Germany as ICN member and is member of the European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN). DBfK supporst the European Forum of National Nursing and Midwifery Associations (EFNNMA) and ENSA (nursing students).


DBfK - German Nurses Association
Alt-Moabit 91| 10559 Berlin | Germany

Phone: +49-30-2191570 | Fax: + 49-30-21915777 | Email:

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