The problem of salaries and the flight of nurses

Health, Nursing Up Report. De Palma: “£1500 per week from the UK, up to €2900 per month from the Netherlands! European countries are upping the ante with their own economic proposals and are targeting Italian nurses, the most specialized figures in the Old Continent.”

Italy, with its stagnant nurse salary for almost a decade, paradoxically produces the best professionals in the Old Continent and continues to lose them in an endless exodus, Antonio De Palma, National President of Nursing Up, denounces.

De Palma’s words

The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg: these are the European countries that have been consistently attracting our healthcare professionals, the most sought-after, the absolute excellences of the Old Continent, for over a decade.

Some time ago, until shortly before Covid, and we were one of the first unions to report it in our investigations, salaries exceeded, slightly, on average, at least for these four nations, €2000 net. In short, it’s clear, already much different from the remunerations of our healthcare professionals. And considering career prospects and often significantly more lucrative working hours, even at that time, with these figures, we were facing very different realities.

On the other hand, during Covid and immediately after the pandemic, realities such as Switzerland and recently Northern Europe emerged. Here, job offers, often not tied to night shifts, began to paint a further different picture for our nurses.

Economic proposals exceeding €3000 net, even accommodation paid for, at least for the entire first year of the contract.

They have become the “new happy islands” of European healthcare, especially Norway and Finland, alongside Switzerland.

We are facing a “continual chase” after Italian professionals, a real open hunt, it’s not an exaggeration at all.

The reason is very simple: European healthcare is reorganizing, it must first of all make up for the shortage of personnel, but it does so with targeted plans, it’s certainly not standing still, focusing on highly specialized profiles.

And who, if not Italy, can offer in the European panorama professionals with paths of specialization that are unmatched?

It seems paradoxical but it’s true: we spend thousands of euros to train the best healthcare professionals since the three-year degree course in nursing, and from the master’s degree, we offer them the opportunity for postgraduate paths with high added value, resulting in nurses ready to face any challenge. Then, however, we let them slip through our fingers.

Other European countries, inevitably, in their process of reorganizing healthcare systems, are coming to “fish with full hands” from Italy, but above all, we are noticing, compared to the past, they are significantly raising their economic proposals.

This is what is happening in 2024, with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands literally leading the charge. Keyword: attract Italian nurses.

In the first case, it’s possible to reach up to £1500 per week for specialized operating room nurses.

Exeter Hospital, in Devon, England, has launched an enticing offer: £1500 per week for operating room nurses. A compensation that has prompted many professionals to pack their bags and leave their homeland in search of fortune abroad.

But it doesn’t end there. From the Netherlands, proposals up to €2900 net per month are arriving, many more than in the recent past.

We cannot at all exclude that the trend may grow further. The “global” chase for specialized nurses has had a new surge, just think of what is happening with the Gulf countries, which can even exceed €5000 per month.

At the same time, however, Italy risks standing still and losing its best professionals, with salaries that, for a long time, in the case of nurses, have seen no evolution,” De Palma concludes.


  • Nursing UP press release
You might also like