In Europe there is a race against time for Italian nurses, after Norway now Finland


«The geographical scenarios are changing and expanding and with them the career prospects for young European nurses. Here then are our professionals: they are highly coveted, our Universities train them with great ability and excellent results, and for this reason they are considered, not wrongly, as true excellences in the world. Their human qualities and their approach towards patients then prove to be a fundamental selection criterion. We are increasingly capable of making a difference, other nations have understood it, experienced it and now they want us!

Thus begins the complaint by the Nursing Up union, which analyzes the situation of Italian nurses. «Scandinavia, far North. The new happy European islands are now here. Away from home? A different climate? It matters little. Scenarios open up for possible life choices that could lead to an epochal change for a young nurse or a graduate in obstetrics, perhaps also armed with a specialization master’s degree and also with experience in the field.”

«After our investigations on Norway, with many testimonies from Italian professionals who have chosen cities like Bergen and Trondheim, and which demonstrate the truthfulness of what we have said, Finland arrives today. The Eures network is currently looking for another 25 nurses, and from our investigations the professionals from our home come first. Salaries of up to 3 thousand euros, housing support, free language courses for 9 months for an essential social and cultural integration as well as an effective approach with the local patient. High quality of life. Efficient and organized hospitals. Do you really think that in Scandinavia a patient or a relative of hers can punch a nurse? The answer is sadly obvious”, comments Antonio De Palma, National President of Nursing Up.

What happens instead in Italy? «Our healthcare system, which is in deep crisis, appears to us more and more like an empty box – the union note continues -, where the present and above all the future of care are not only full of uncertainty, but also appear full of clouds dark. The recent events that have characterized our healthcare reality can only push us to a reflection of this kind, severe but extremely truthful”, continues the president.

«Politics certainly does not play its part and, in the name of the shrimp step, it does not give a shake, to implement, once and for all, the long-awaited valorization of health professionals, increasingly tired, increasingly disappointed. The historical moment, it is clear to everyone, appears truly delicate. Let’s look behind us for a moment, without having to go back much further. December was the month of our legitimate protests, sit-ins, strikes, and for the first time doctors and nurses demonstrated side by side, united by the same discontent. On the other hand, even if there has still been no sign of opening from the higher levels, from Schillaci’s Minister of Health, we do not stop believing in it”, he further declares.

«Yet January risks becoming, from now until the end, the month of increasingly exhausting shifts, of hospitals in turmoil and unable to manage the surplus of patients caused by the flu peak. Old structures, which, like house of cards, catch fire at the first inconvenience that arises. But above all, the last few weeks have seen more than ever the beatings of nurses, who are increasingly targeted by exasperated citizens, the punches of our women, the swollen faces, the broken teeth, and unbelievable, even armed threats”, it goes forward De Palma.

«When a patient who has been waiting for his turn for a long time in an emergency room steals a security guard’s gun and sows panic among the healthcare staff, you, the nurse, legitimately ask yourself if it is really worth going to work the next day, to face your night shift, perhaps in an emergency room which has meanwhile become a powder keg”, concludes De Palma.

This is because the other European countries are reorganizing themselves, getting busy, aiming for generational replacements, super-organized cutting-edge structures, and to strengthen their staff they open the way to the best excellences coming from other nations. What do they offer? Salaries that are double ours and very different perspectives, radical changes that equate to professional growth and quality of life.

In your opinion, at what level can the quality of life of an Italian nurse be considered today, with one of the lowest salaries in Europe, the grueling shifts and the beatings and threats in the wards, as well as the time to dedicate to loved ones that is getting thinner and thinner? In your opinion, is it perhaps not paradoxical that politicians struggle to understand that this healthcare reality, in a deep crisis, as it is, and that without a turning point for healthcare professionals, will end up offering fewer and fewer guarantees of protection for health of citizens?

At the moment, perhaps, only Spain is experiencing the same “hot season” of protests by healthcare professionals, like Italy. Clear evidence is the long strike of nurses in Catalonia, who are demanding more dignified wages and more suitable working hours. Yet salaries in Spain are higher than ours, yet Spain has been reorganizing its territorial healthcare for some time.

And the other European countries? What are other nations doing to address new healthcare challenges? Switzerland and Germany offer greater economic security, it is a fact, and hospital realities that are certainly not as fragile as ours. Otherwise, why would the flow of our professionals fleeing abroad be directed first of all towards these countries? Certainly not just because of the geographical proximity.

SWISS. The number of cross-border workers is increasing dramatically and bringing the healthcare system of our neighboring regions to its knees. After Lombardy, the Piedmont case also explodes. Switzerland attracts more and more professionals from our country, it’s a fact. It’s a stone’s throw away, but it’s a whole other world!

Piedmont: around 400 nurses have left this region in the last year, exhausted by unacceptable conditions and attracted by salaries that Italy dreams of. There are those who decide to go to work in Swiss hospitals, like in Brig, 20 minutes from the Italian border. The average Piedmontese professional who travels to Switzerland every day is under 30 years old. More suitable hours to finally be able to manage personal life and family affections in a dignified way, especially salaries that start from 2500 euros net.

ENGLAND. The opportunities are always high for the nurses in our house, the salaries are not less than 2500 euros. If you don’t live in central London, the cost of living is equal to salaries. For months, healthcare in the United Kingdom has been getting a makeover and professionals are asking for more recognition. And there are certainly not our problems!

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