The EBMT Swiss Nurses Working Group meets three times a year. This year, the first meeting was online, the second was at the University Hospital in Zurich. The third meeting is always embedded in the Swiss Blood Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy meeting (SBST) in Berne. One representative from each transplant centre in Switzerland attends our group (see picture). Special in our group certainly is, that the language used in our meetings and correspondence is English to understand each other as we have the different languages (Swiss-German, French and Italian) represented.
The president of our group is Barbara Piccolruaz from the University Hospital in Berne. She has worked as a clinical nurse specialist in haemato-oncology for more than 15 years. Vice-president is Sabina Minola from Bellizona, the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, also an experienced clinical nurse specialist. Last year Matthias Hellberg-Naegele was elected as the international contact person. Matthias has over 25 years of experience in the field of haematology and cellular therapies and works as an advanced practice nurse at the Cantonal Hospital in St. Gallen and is well networked internationally. For the next meeting in Spring 2024 new board elections are planned.
The issue on which our working group has focused this year is the significant shortage of skilled nursing staff in Switzerland. In many centres beds on the wards have to be closed because of this, in some cases up to 40%. We have had intensive discussions about the necessary nurse-to-patient-ratio in haematology and also about criteria that can be used to capture the complexity of haematological patients. Together with our medical colleagues from the SBST, a survey is planned on which factors are decisive for nurses in haematology to remain in the specialty. In parallel, the Swiss oncology nursing society is conducting a nationwide survey in haematology and oncology on the work situation of oncology nurses. We will discuss the results of both surveys at the next SBST meeting in February 2024.