In response to the devastating and deplorable Russian invasion of Ukraine, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has launched the #NursesForPeace campaign.
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) yesterday hosted a special webinar with European nurse leaders bringing together nursing groups to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. Several Ukrainian nurse leaders joined the meeting from the basements of their hospitals. Participants voiced their solidarity and support for the nurses and people of Ukraine in a message of unity from nurses around the world.
Following the meeting, ICN, the European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN) and the European Forum of National Nursing and Midwifery Associations (EFNNMA) issued a joint statement strongly condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the disruption to health services and the attacks on healthcare facilities and innocent civilians. ICN, EFN and EFNNMA are calling for an immediate ceasefire, an end to all hostilities and for the commencement of intensified diplomatic negotiations to secure peace.
ICN has launched a #NursesforPeace social media campaign to join nurses across the world in solidarity with the nurses of Ukraine. Banners, social media tiles and other campaign resources can be downloaded here. ICN encourages campaign supporters to post photos of themselves holding the banners on social media using the tag #NursesforPeace.
Nataliya Lishchenko, the former director of a nursing school in Ukraine who is working with ICN to liaise with Ukrainian nurses, facilitated translation for the Ukrainian nursing colleagues who joined the call. She 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. “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.”
Tetyana Chernyshenko, President of the Nursing Association of Ukraine, joined the webinar from Kyiv. She spoke about the ongoing conflict, saying that a lot of cities are under fire and many civilians have been wounded or killed. “Our people are looking for shelter in subway stations, and bombs are hitting not only places of residence but also hospitals… Babies have even been delivered in the subway shelters or in the hospital basements.” She thanked the bordering countries who have taken in and cared for many Ukrainian refugees.
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.”
Halyna, a nurse leader in Ukraine, said she had received messages from nurses across the country who are spending the nights in the shelters and in hospitals. “They are sending their children and grandchildren to neighbouring countries and I am very thankful for this help.”
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.”
The Ukrainian nurses made an appeal for psychosocial support and medical supplies including: wound care supplies such as tourniquets, medication and antibiotics, as well as disposable scrubs.