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How Nurses Can Help in the Crisis in Ukraine

NurseJournal Staff
Updated March 24, 2023
    Many nurses are wondering how they can help during the Ukraine war and its humanitarian crisis. This guide explains how nurses can volunteer or donate.
    Credit: FatCamera / Getty Images

    Disclaimer: As the crisis in Ukraine develops, it’s important to ensure your own safety, especially if traveling to affected countries. Also, avoid potential scammers by reviewing all official documents or restrictions before volunteering for an organization.

    As the crisis in Ukraine continues to unfold, nurses across the U.S. are asking how they can help. Fortunately, there are several ways nurses can offer assistance, whether it’s volunteering as a nurse in Ukraine, donating, or spreading awareness on social media.

    Millions of people worldwide are looking for ways to help Ukraine and Ukrainians. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, in an escalation of hostilities that began in 2014. This ongoing invasion has drawn almost universal global condemnation and deep concern for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

    As healthcare professionals and one of the most trusted professions, nurses can draw attention to humanitarian needs and call for an end to the violence by signing a joint statement condemning the Ukraine invasion and using the hashtag #NursesforPeace on social media.

    This page describes options to offer nursing help in Ukraine by donating, volunteering, or providing assistance in other ways.

    Nurses Can Volunteer in Ukraine and Neighboring Countries

    This is a partial list of current opportunities. Because the situation is changing rapidly, there may be additional opportunities to volunteer as more organizations mobilize.

    As a volunteer, conditions may be physically stressful and emotionally overwhelming. Expect long working days, the strain of working with people who are traumatized, and insufficient supplies. Make sure you are taking care of your emotional and physical health too.

    Remember that if you aren’t physically or emotionally ready to volunteer, you can still help. Volunteer needs will likely continue even after hostilities end, as Ukraine and Ukrainians recover.

    Be sure to verify any organization, especially ones you aren’t already familiar with. Unfortunately, while human suffering like the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine can elicit profound compassion and the desire to help, it also attracts scammers who prey on the human desire to help.

    Volunteer as a Nurse in Ukraine and Neighboring Countries

    International Medical Corps is recruiting registered nurses (RNs) with:

    • At least six years of experience
    • Two years of experience in low-resource settings or developing nations

    It’s a plus if you:

    • Speak Ukrainian, Russian, or other related languages
    • Have a master of public health
    • Are experienced in nongovernmental organizational settings
    • Have lived and worked under very austere conditions

    These RN volunteers will provide healthcare in Ukraine and neighboring countries taking in refugees. The work involves triaging and providing care, maintaining patient records, teaching staff, testing, and offering patient education.

    Maintaining vigilance for signs of potential human exploitation and trafficking is crucial. You must make sound decisions under high stress and with limited resources.

    Volunteer as a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner in Western Ukraine or Poland

    Team Rubicon is recruiting:

    • Nurses and nurse practitioners to provide care to refugees

    You must have current ACLS, BLS, and PALS certification; have experience in the military, a conflict zone or similar low-resource environment within the last five years; hold a U.S. or Canadian passport valid for the next six months; and be available for a minimum 2-week deployment.

    Team Rubicon is a disaster relief organization based in the United States. It provides medical and other disaster relief services in crisis areas, including Ukraine, Haiti, and the United States. Many of its volunteers are military veterans, but they recruit volunteers from all backgrounds.

    Volunteer as a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner in Poland

    The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario is recruiting:

    • Nurses to provide care to refugees
    • Nurse practitioners to provide healthcare in Poland

    Poland is receiving potentially millions of refugees from the Ukraine invasion, especially women and children. Nurses can help Ukraine by providing primary care, pediatric primary and emergency care, and mental healthcare.

    While Poland is safe from conflict and likely to remain so, working conditions will be stressful. Expect to work with limited resources and people experiencing trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder.

    Volunteer as a Nurse With Children of War Teams

    Children of War is mobilizing teams to help the children of Ukraine. Because they are still mobilizing, the details aren’t yet established. However, they will likely need nurses with pediatric primary, acute, and mental healthcare experience.

    You can email their international team for details or send donations through their website.

    12 Places Nurses Can Donate to Support Victims of War in Ukraine

    The following are 12 places nurses and nursing allies can donate to support nursing colleagues in Ukraine, fund medical supplies, and address the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

    You can find additional charities on Charity Navigator, which lists charities active in Ukraine that have received 3- or 4-star ratings for efficiency and effectiveness. The list is not comprehensive, but it includes easy access to information about each organization’s mission and operations, such as how much it spends on fundraising and administration and how much the CEO makes.

    The ICN Humanitarian Fund

    The International Council of Nurses is a global organization founded in 2010. They provide support to nurses serving survivors of natural or human-caused disasters and disaster training.

    To help Ukraine, they have launched the #NursesforPeace campaign to condemn attacks on healthcare workers and facilities and offer other support for nurses in Ukraine. You can also donate to the ICN Humanitarian Fund.

    Doctors Without Borders

    Doctors Without Borders is one of the largest and best-known medical relief organizations. Before the invasion, they had a presence in Ukraine. Now they are giving emergency relief and supplies to hospitals and healthcare providers, including nurses in Ukraine.

    You can support their work in Ukraine by donating.

    Canadian Medical Assistance Teams

    Canadian Medical Assistance Teams is accepting donations to help provide healthcare and supplies to refugees from Ukraine. They note that the first wave of refugees from disasters like the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine often have resources, but the following waves often have even greater needs.

    The Children of War Foundation

    The Children of War Foundation works to reduce the impact of war on children with physical and mental healthcare. They are currently sending supplies and mobilizing teams to respond to the Ukraine invasion.

    The American Red Cross

    The American Red Cross was already in Ukraine before the Ukraine invasion, providing humanitarian relief. They are offering healthcare, trauma care, first aid training, and food and shelter.

    At present, they do not need volunteers but encourage volunteering at your local Red Cross.

    International Medical Corps

    International Medical Corps supports physicians and nurses in Ukraine and provides both physical and mental healthcare. They emphasize protecting refugees from exploitation and trafficking. They also have resources for women who have experienced or are at risk of gender-based violence.

    The GlobalGiving Crisis Relief Fund

    GlobalGiving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund works with local partners to provide food, shelter, and healthcare to refugees fleeing Ukraine and those still living in Ukraine. You can give to its general Ukraine fund or to specific organizations.

    Urgent Action Fund

    Urgent Action Fund provides resources to organizations and individuals supporting women and children in Ukraine. They make a particular effort to address the needs of transgender women and people who are nonbinary, who are at an even higher risk of gender-based violence.

    The World Food Programme

    The World Food Programme, part of the United Nations, is one of the largest food relief organizations in the world. It is shipping and distributing tons of food to help around 3.15 million people in Ukraine and hundreds of thousands of refugees in surrounding countries.

    The United Ukrainian American Relief Committee

    The United Ukrainian American Relief Committee is an established 501(c)3 nonprofit using GoFundMe as its donation platform. It is collecting donations to send medical supplies to physicians and nurses in Ukraine.

    The World Central Kitchen

    The World Central Kitchen gives hot, nutritious meals to refugees from the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and those remaining in the country. They serve refugees in Poland, Romania, and other countries receiving refugees.

    International Relief Teams

    International Relief Teams provides food, water, shelter, and other necessities to refugees fleeing Ukraine in partnership with local organizations.

    How to Manage Stress During the Ukraine Crisis

    As a nurse, you may already experience burnout from COVID-19 and the demands a two-year-long pandemic has placed on you, your family, and your colleagues. It’s tempting to “doomscroll” through bad news or feel guilty about working in relative comfort while nursing colleagues and civilians in Ukraine are suffering.

    Instead, focus on what you can do. If you’re not in a position to volunteer now, during the COVID-19 crisis, remember that needs in Ukraine will be ongoing. There will be continuous opportunities to help nurse, teach, or provide other types of support for nurses in Ukraine.

    Remember that you can help spread the word and encourage others to donate time or money in support of Ukraine. Above all, take care of yourself so that you can continue taking care of others.