In response to the dramatic personal and professional situation in which millions of refugees have found themselves, including hundreds of thousands of patients requiring complex medical and nursing care, we ask all partners, government institutions and international organizations to develop and implement systemic support systems for the victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
As representatives of the nursing community, we ask our Polish decision-makers to take action to support our fellow nurses fleeing the war in Ukraine, regardless of their current location, status or further plans.
Polish nurses represented by the following organizations: the Supreme Council of Nurses and Midwives, the Polish Nursing Association and the National Trade Union of Nurses and Midwives, in close cooperation with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the European Federation of Nursing Associations (EFN), after consultation with representatives of the Ministry of Health and leaders of the universities educating nurses, on 11-12 April 2022, agreed on and propose the following direction and necessary actions. These we believe are consistent with and ensure full implementation of the provisions contained in the document “Commission Recommendation (EU) 2022/554 of 5 April 2022 on the recognition of qualifications of persons fleeing Ukraine against the Russian invasion”.
1. We recognize that in order to ensure effective conditions for social and professional assimilation for Ukrainian nurses who decide to either temporarily or permanently settle/work in Poland (or other EU countries), it is necessary to offer dedicated support and education programs to enable adaptation and bridging and thereby ensure competence and safety to work as a Registered Nurse. In the context of Nursing shortages and increasing healthcare demands, in both the short and long term, facilitating access to the nursing labor market will mutually benefit individual nurses and both the Polish and Ukrainian healthcare systems.
2. The educational investment and support offered to Ukrainian nurse refugees will help ensure equal rights and enable them to function safely and competently in the Polish and EU labour market. In the long term it is highly likely to also be an investment in Ukrainian nursing as it will strengthen the leadership and development of the Nursing Profession as part of the reconstruction of the Ukrainian healthcare eco-system after the end of the hostilities.
3. The legislative solutions adopted by the Polish government both for the purposes of combating the pandemic and the effects of the war in Ukraine and supporting and strengthening the employment opportunities for nurses with professional qualifications obtained outside the EU will require amendment in order to facilitate the smooth transition from temporary to permanent arrangements.
4. Updating Polish legal regulations should ensure educational adaptation and bridging opportunities, mentorship, decent and equal working conditions for Ukrainian nurses and also guarantee the safety of health services for Polish patients and not introduce additional burdens for Polish nursing staff.
5. Recognizing that the Polish healthcare system has existing and challenging nursing staff shortages it is also necessary to build a system of support and motivational tools for Polish nurses, who will participate in the educational and adaptation process for Ukrainian nursing colleagues.
6. In order to ensure universal access to healthcare services for the incoming population of several million refugees, including women and children, as well as the elderly, chronically ill and dependent, we ask all partners to recognize and support the role that advanced and specialist nurses can pay and also to help in introducing new, innovative solutions such as telehealth in the provision of healthcare services for these populations.
7. Poland, as the country that has shouldered the greatest burden of helping the victims of the war in Ukraine, needs the support of international organizations in order to provide the necessary solutions to both strengthen the healthcare system for refugees and direct assistance to medical and nursing professionals from Ukraine, including in particular nurses and midwives.
Signatories of the Statement on Aid for Nurses Fleeing Ukraine from the Russian Invasion:
ZOFIA MAŁAS – President of the Supreme Council of Nurses and Midwives
GRAŻYNA WÓJCIK – President of the Main Board of the Polish Nursing Society
KRYSTYNA PTOK – President of the National Trade Union of Nurses and Midwives
PAUL DE RAEVE – General Secretary, European Federation of Nurses Associations EFN, Brussels
HOWARD CATTON – Chief Executive Officer, lnternational Council of Nurses, Geneva