Nurses and specialist nurses are playing a growing role in the healthcare system. Alongside the specialities already existing, such as nurse anaesthetists, operating room nurses, intensive care nurses, mental health nurses, and paediatric nurses, new specialties have also emerged, or are about to emerge, such as cancer nurses, endocrinology nurses, diabetes nurses, and cardiology nurses.
Despite the fact that formal training for certain specialties has existed for years, practice, status, training duration, and content may be drastically different from one country to another. Some other specialist roles have been established in Europe, with a professional transnational collaboration, including diabetes, dialysis, urology, and oncology. Moreover, the development of higher medical technologies and more sophisticated treatment requires specialist nurses.
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ‘Health 2020. A European policy framework and strategy for the 21st century’, health for all should be improved and health inequalities reduced.1 We can observe a higher demand for healthcare services and physician-specialists alone cannot respond to this demand; therefore, nurse specialists have a role to play. Nevertheless, their role is still not homogeneously defined across Europe.2-7 There is no mention of nurse specialists in the European directive 55/2013/EU8 on the recognition of the professional qualification and there is no harmonisation in terms of education, practice, and status.
ESNO is committed to recognising nurse specialists at the European level. We represent the interests of the member organisations and we provide expert advice and share best practice on issues shaping specialism in nursing. Our scope of interventions is large and includes advocacy, education, lobbying, and contributing to different actions run by European organisations, institutes, and agencies. FEND and ESNO are leading a survey titled ‘Nurse specialists in Europe Definition of a Common Diabetes Nurse Specialist Training Framework- a Feasibility Study (DiaFram)’. We have started with the specialty of diabetes, but the study corpus can be duplicated to other specialties, in order to allow them to develop their own common training framework according to their own specificities.
Our long-term strategies aim to set the status of nurse specialists in the healthcare arena at master’s, post-master’s, and doctoral level with an automatic recognition of their qualification. The harmonisation of practice and scope of competences is essential to permit mobility at a pan-European level and, last but not least, to ensure the security and quality of the care.
ESNO’s members consist of individual European specialist nurses, and the number of members is still growing. Today, we number 15 members representing different specialties:9
- Association for Common European Nursing Diagnoses, Interventions and Outcomes (ACENDIO)
- European Dialysis and Transplant Nurses Association/European Renal Care Association (EDTNA/ERCA)
- European federation of Critical Care Nursing associations (EfCCNa)
- European Nurse Directors Association (ENDA)
- European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS)
- European Operating Room Nurses Association (EORNA)
- Foundation of European Nurses in Diabetes (FEND)
- International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists (IFNA)
- European Association of Urology Nurses (EAUN)
- European Society of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Nurses and Associate (ESGENA)
- European Respiratory Nurses Association (ERNA)
- European League Against Rheumatism/Nurses section (EULAR)
- European Society for Emergency Nursing (EuSEN)
- European Association of Neuroscience Nurses
- European Veterinary Nurses
- European Society of Endocrinology Nurses (ESE)
- European Conference on Mental Health (ECMH)
- IBD, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
- Skin and Dermatology Nurses Europe