The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has launched a campaign, #NursesforPeace in response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
The Queen's Nursing Institute is one of more than 130 National Nurses Associations that are members of the ICN and says: ‘We wholeheartedly support the campaign.
‘We ask all nurses in the UK to join us by sharing the campaign, signing the statement calling for an end to hostilities, and if you are able to, by making a donation in support of the Ukrainian nurses and people.’
The ICN is involved in a number of initiatives to support of Ukraine. On 25 February, the day after the start of the invasion, the ICN issued a statement calling for the protection and safety of nurses and all healthcare workers. Since then, they have been closely monitoring events and have been in regular contact with nursing associations in the region.
On 2 March, a meeting was held with the Nursing Association of Ukraine, nurse leaders from across Ukraine, Associations from neighbouring countries and EFN (the European Federation of Nurses Associations) and EFNNMA (European Forum of National Nursing and Midwifery Associations). Vivid and disturbing accounts were heard of the terrible situation unfolding in Ukraine and the need for international solidarity to support the people of Ukraine and bring an end to hostilities.
On 3 March, ICN launched a global campaign #NursesforPeace and, with EFN and EFNNMA, issued a statement condemning the invasion, calling for intensified diplomatic efforts and an immediate ceasefire. The ICN has also published eyewitness accounts.
Nataliya Lishchenko, the former director of a nursing school in Ukraine who is working with ICN to liaise with Ukrainian nurses, spoke about the situation of nurses in the Ukraine, many of whom are living in the hospitals where they work in order to care for patients. She said: ‘I know that my colleagues in Ukraine need a lot of psychosocial support, emotional support. The situation is incredibly difficult, dangerous, and traumatic for Ukrainian nurses, but they are committed to care. Knowing that they have the support of the international nursing community is really important and helps to sustain them during these incredibly difficult times.’
Aneliya, a senior nurse from Kyiv, is one of those nurses who are living in the hospital. ‘We are seeing increased attacks in Kyiv and preparing for a large number of wounded. We are particularly worried about the growing lack of basic medical supplies, including tourniquets. We are also providing first aid training for civilians but we desperately need more supplies.’
Svitlana, a nurse leader in Ternopil, said nurses have done everything themselves. As Ternopil is in the west of Ukraine, the situation is calmer than in Kyiv and Kharkiv. ‘We have distribution centres with students and other volunteers and we are receiving supply chains from Poland and other countries. We are distributing everything we receive to the cities that need it.’
Nurses can back the campaign by downloading the #NursesforPeace graphic at https://www.icn.ch/sites/default/files/inline-files/Nursesforpeace_Visuals.zip.
It can be printed or used as a screen background and posted on social media with a photo to show your support.
The QNI has added its voice to the campaign. QNI Chief Executive Dr Crystal Oldman CBE said: ‘The Queen’s Nursing Institute is proud to support the ICN #nursesforpeace campaign. Nurses see the awful, real effects of war on people of all ages – not just combatants but innocent men, women and children whose homes and communities are torn apart. The destruction and waste of war has no place in any society in any age, but in 2022 the World had great hopes for a progressive society being rebuilt after the global pandemic in which nurses played such a brave and indispensable part. The UK’s nurses stand with their colleagues around the world in their passionate belief in and advocacy of humanity, health and peace.’
Practice Nurse joins the QNI in appealing for all nurses to sign the petition here: https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/nursesforpeace.html
Donations can be made through the ICN Humanitarian Fund: https://www.shop.icn.ch/collections/donations/products/icn-humanitarian-fund. The ICN will work with nursing associations and international agencies to ensure donations are used most effectively. (The ICN website uses Swiss francs and the exchange rate is 1.22 francs to £1.)
The ICN will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with its members and partners to demonstrate solidarity with nurses and healthcare workers across Ukraine and to advocate for a speedy and peaceful resolution to the war.