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Nina Schulte has already been on duty for several hours when most of us start our day. During her 24-hour shift, the special needs caregiver from Cologne is responsible for the care of seven children and teenagers with mental or physical disabilities who all live together in a residential group. "There's always something going on, no day is the same - although we try to establish a routine," says the 27-year-old. This portrait explores what fascinates Nina about her profession, the role of sports as a balance, and how she combines her hobbies and profession in the horse stable.

The bread is in the toaster, the cereal is on the table. It's not even 6 a.m., but breakfast is already prepared. The alarm clock is about to ring for the seven children and teenagers in a residential group in Cologne, whom Nina Schulte will be caring for today together with a colleague.

The special needs caregiver moves from room to room. "We have an hour and a half in the morning, then everyone needs to be ready and have breakfast," she explains. Afterward, the young residents of the group go to school or the learning workshop.

"The boys and girls in our group have a wide range of disabilities, and we don't differentiate between physical and psychological conditions," says Nina. The spectrum ranges from autism spectrum disorders, muscular dystrophy, and developmental disorders to psychological traumas, and some children and teenagers in the residential group may suffer from multiple conditions. "Often, mental and physical limitations are closely intertwined," explains the 27-year-old from Cologne.

The goal of a residential group is to provide the young residents with a structured daily routine, says the special needs caregiver. "The children should grow up in a familiar environment, with us caregivers as their consistent points of contact," explains Nina. The reason is simple: "This way, we can best support the boys and girls in their personal development," she says.


One of the many reasons why the 27-year-old chose her profession after school is the opportunity to help people who rely on others due to their limitations. "The daily personal contact with the children allows me to build a relationship with them. This is important for the girls and boys to feel comfortable," she says.

"The most beautiful thing is to see how the children develop and make progress," Nina shares. Knowing that she can help and support the young residents of the residential group during such an important phase of their personal development is a rewarding feeling. "The profession demands a lot of energy from me, but it's definitely worth it," says Nina. The smiles and love she receives from the children are incomparable.

During her day shifts, Nina is constantly on her feet. Only in the morning, when the children are at school, does she have a little time for unfinished tasks. The special needs caregiver plans the rest of the day, coordinates doctor's appointments and therapy visits for the children, and starts preparing lunch. In the afternoon, she carries out nursing activities, providing individual and group care for the children.

"We always have to keep an eye on the children," says Nina. She covers several kilometers every day, easily reaching around 20,000 steps in an average day shift. She quickly realized the importance of comfortable shoes for her workday, emphasizing it as a crucial aspect of her job as a caregiver in Cologne.



"I'm on my feet all day, so comfortable shoes are a must for me," says Nina Schulte, a special needs caregiver and equine therapist. Thanks to the patented U-TECH™ technology, the U-TECH White Nevos reduces knee and Achilles tendon stress by up to 10% and minimizes muscle fatigue. It's designed for all situations where you spend a lot of time on your feet. Experience the U-TECH White Nevos.

In the past, Nina often worked in shoes without much sole technology. In the evenings, she would repeatedly feel the strain in her feet and ankles. "The nursing profession is physically demanding," says Nina. "That's why I'm constantly looking for things that can make my work a bit easier."

Outside of her profession, it is also important for Nina to be free from complaints and pain. Only then can she engage in the sports that fascinate her. In her free time, the Cologne resident enjoys swimming, going to the gym, and, for the past few months, running. She shares that she plans to participate in her first half-marathon next year. When her day is particularly demanding, books help her unwind. The sofa then becomes perhaps the second most beautiful place in the world.

Nina's biggest hobby is horse riding. Several times a week, the 27-year-old goes to the stable. There, she has a horse-sharing arrangement, taking care of grooming and tending to her horse while using the time to clear her mind. "Here, I can relax and let my thoughts wander," she says.

However, Nina doesn't want to completely separate her hobby from her profession. "Riding is a fantastic form of therapy," says the special needs caregiver. She regularly takes some of the children to the equestrian center. "The contact with the horses is incredibly valuable for them." The young residents of the residential group assist with feeding the animals, participate in grooming, or take a few rounds on the backs of the horses. Afterwards, Nina and the children make their way back to the residential group, with broad smiles on everyone's faces.