The EFN was invited as key stakeholder to the “Youth Policy Dialogue on Brain Drain: retaining and attracting talents” with the European Commissioner Elisa Ferreira, in charge of Cohesion and Reforms. The event, organised with the aim to involve young people in the policy dialogue to better understand the main issues and the possible solutions around a difficult topic as brain drain in EU, was a good opportunity for them to participate to the policy debate and make change happen.
The EFN took this opportunity to stress opportunities and working conditions as two key points on which the EU institutions have to work to attract and retain young people in the nursing profession. The healthcare sector is the most affected field with labour shortage and talents drain. COVID-19 pandemic showed, more than ever, the lack of frontline healthcare professionals, especially nurses. And it is a huge issue, not only at emergency and intensive care units. The EFN also stressed the terrible working conditions that bring nurses to leave the profession massively – and this is happening now! – with 30% of the nurses, including young people, who have already left the profession. Not forgetting that most of the nurses are women (89%) and that these women are leaving the profession, which will increase the gender gap.
Among the solutions proposed by the EFN, is the support and implementation of the Directive on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (2013/55/EU) as an essential starting point to boost the free movement of young people in the EU, and the need to implement WHO ethical recruitment guidelines to tackle brain drain.
Commissioner Elisa Ferreira recognised the intensive work of healthcare professionals, especially nurses, the terrible working conditions, the low salaries in the healthcare sector, and underlined the importance of the Directive on Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications.
As stated by the Commissioner Elisa Ferreira “involve young people in the Policy Dialogue is essential for implementing the solutions proposed to shape a better future in EU”. This Policy Dialogue highlighted common worries and issues among the EU young generation and showed the importance of involving young people in such Policy Dialogue to provide a broader view, voice, and find key solutions to shape a better future.