European Public Health Week – What’s in for nurses?

European Public Health Week – What’s in for nurses?

Posted on May 16, 2019

The EFN engages with the European Public Health Week, an initiative aiming at raising awareness of public health and celebrating healthy populations. Each day of the week was dedicated to a different public health theme such as: Becoming, being and remaining physically active; Healthy environments;  Care 4 care; Sustainable and healthy diets; and Youth mental health.

The theme “Care 4 Care” gave special attention to the nursing workforce. The day’s motto “taking care of what takes care of you” summarises the EFN’s standpoint on the topic. There is no health without a workforce, thus policymakers should invest in health workforce development and composition capacity. There are up to 6 million nurses in Europe who need to see their working conditions improved because investing in nursing saves lives! Nurses play a key role not only being at the frontline of patient care but also educating citizens/patients on how to take care of their own health.

However, nurses’ shortages and imbalances persist across the European region. This situation has worsened in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008. Thus, the nursing workforce should be developed through the EFN Workforce Matrix 3+1, with a strong focus on recruitment and retention measures. In the light of the ongoing population growth, ageing societies, and changing disease patterns, with a better understanding of nurses advanced roles in primary and community care, the implementation of the EFN Competency framework, in line with DIR 55 and EFN Workforce Matrix could lead to sustainable, safe and high quality health and social care ecosystems.

Moreover, the right skills-mix of nurses is indispensable for effective and efficient health and social care service delivery. Nurses’ should have the opportunity to access lifelong learning activities within working hours. Employers should support nurses, women to stay in the profession of nursing and making sure they have enough career opportunities, including in public health. The content of the learning should be flexible and tailored to the needs of women.

The European Public Health Week took place from 13 to 17 May 2019 all over 32 countries worldwide. It was organised by the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) together with the European Commission and co-financed by the EU Health Programme. It was supported by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the EFN.