Call for Abstracts (Seventh Issue 2025)


he European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics is an interdisciplinary Open Access and peer-reviewed eJournal spanning the Humanities, Nursing Science, Social Sciences, and Cultural Studies. The journal is published online once a year with each edition having an individual theme and an open section that contains articles on various topics. In addition, the sections “Forum” and “Lost and Found” offer the opportunity to publish shorter articles on current debates or to present remarkable objects, texts, pictures or movies with relevance to nursing history and ethics and to discuss their significance.

The Journal is seeking contributions to

  • the open section
  • the themed section
  • “Lost and Found”
  • “Forum”

Theme 2025: Nursing and Migration

Deadline for Abstracts: May 31, 2024

Deadline for Manuscripts: November 30, 2024

Staff shortages in nursing seem to be one of the constants in European health systems. As early as the 1950s, European states have found it necessary to recruit from abroad the qualified nurses and apprentices for the caring professions that were needed to mitigate a crisis in their health care systems. Since then the nursing shortages have only been reinforced by demographic changes and advances in health care. Today, through state-driven recruitment programmes, most developed countries employ a substantial number of migrant nurses, transforming the profile of nursing in Europe, North America and Australasia. Regular and irregular migration into formal and informal labour markets have played as much a role as the increasing care dependency on migrants in ageing societies. While some aspects of a migration history of nursing appear to be specific to the era of post-war globalisation, the entangled history of nursing and migration is considerably older, predating the modern professionalisation of nursing.

Despite the obvious potentials of nursing history of migration and a migration history of nursing, the field is still largely underexplored. To date, historians of medicine and nursing in Europe have paid little attention to the relation of nursing and migration, and nor have scholars of migration history or contemporary history. Current historical research focuses on the multi-layered marginalisation that migrants in the nursing profession experience. Due to an intersectional overlap of migration, gender and the social construction of nursing as a profession long considered as ancillary to medicine, migrant nurses could easily be overlooked by their nursing contemporaries and by later historians. Nevertheless, the gaps and desiderata are conspicuous, both because migration history and nursing history have become established and productive fields of historical inquiry in recent decades, and because the topic is evidently relevant to current and future debates about the related topics of population healthcare needs, workforce planning and nursing policy on training and recruitment. In the field of nursing ethics, topics such as the possibilities and challenges of transcultural relations in nursing have been the subject of productive discussions since the 2010s. So also has been the ethics of the potential negative impacts on the health infrastructure of the migrants’ countries of origin. 

Planned for 2025, the special issue of the European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics aims to explore the relation between nursing and migration from different perspectives. The guest editors of the special issue are Fruzsina Müller, David Freis and Pierre Pfütsch. The editors are seeking abstracts that will address historical and ethical issues pertaining to the topic of nurse migration, including the political, social and institutional contexts in which migrant nurses travel and work, their experiences as migrant nurses and their impact on both the nursing and the health system of their host country. In doing so, the issue also aims to create a fruitful exchange between historical and ethical perspectives of the topic.


Possible topics and questions pertaining to nursing history may include:

Everyday experiences and professional identities

How did migrant nurses themselves imagine and conceptualize the roles of nurses and care recipients, and how did these differ between the countries of origin and the receiving countries? How did cultural differences, relating to religious identities, assumptions about morality and gender roles, affect the practice of nursing and interpersonal relations at the workplace? How compatible was the training of nurses in the countries of origin with that of the receiving countries? The issue also asks for abstracts on reciprocities, such as the impact of returning nurses on the practice of nursing in their countries of origin.

Experiences of care recipients

Migration can touch on the relation between nurses and care recipients in different ways. For example, patients receiving nursing care from migrant nurses may have different values, expectations and prejudices that shape the nurse-patient encounter. Conversely, as care recipients themselves, migrant nurses may experience the caring encounter differently, according to whether they are nursed by non-migrant nurses or nurses of their own ethnicity. 


The process of migration is shaped by numerous social, cultural, political and economic factors. Therefore, migration always needs to be understood in broader historical contexts. Did the migration of nurses take place as part of larger migration movements, or independently? How did the migration of nurses differ from other forms of labour migration and care migration? What are the similarities and differences between European countries in terms of their migration patterns and experiences? Who were the key actors involved in shaping, facilitating, or hindering the migration of nurses; for example, were they international, state or local, such as religious organisations, or specific individuals?


Possible topics and questions pertaining to nursing ethics may include:

Ethical questions involving the recruitment of nurses from abroad

Qualified nurses are needed everywhere in the world. How appropriate is it for the European nations to recruit nurses from abroad when these risks creating shortages in the countries of origin? Moreover, there is evidence that migrant nurses often are subject to poor living conditions and exploitative working conditions. Considering these issues, can the recruitment of migrant nurses take place ethically?

Ethical challenges of transcultural care

Migrant nurses are not only trained differently but can also come from cultures with different moral and ethical views and priorities. These differences are the source of potential tensions and conflicts among nurses, as well as between nurses and care recipients. What are the lines of conflict in specific settings, and how can they be successfully resolved?

Ethical problems in the employment of migrants in inhouse-care
Often without a residence permit and outside the regular labour market, many migrants are providing care in the form of 24-hour in-house care, leaving them particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. How can these problems be analysed and resolved ethically?

The guest editors welcome contributions from nursing and medical history, nursing studies, nursing ethics, as well as from history, social science, cultural studies and adjacent fields.


Please note the following remarks on the concept of the European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics:

The journal creates a dialogue between the history and the ethics of nursing, while providing new impulses for advancing the subfields of the history as well as the ethics of nursing. Historians are asked to include the ethical dimension of the topic into their research project; researchers interested in ethics are requested to reflect on the historical dimensions of their projects. This does not mean, however, that articles on ethics should be preceded by a historical overview in the style of a manual. Rather the latest developments and socio-political debates that have led to the current issues in the ethics of nursing should be put in their historical context and be used in the analysis. Likewise, papers on the history of nursing should address ethical questions within the historical context or refer to current issues in the ethics of nursing. The journal publishes research both on European History and the history of the reciprocal relationships and interplays of European and non-European societies.

The journal only publishes original contributions. When submitting their manuscript, authors agree that their text has not already been submitted or published elsewhere.

Please submit your abstract in English and separately a short CV by May 31, 2024 to Prof. Dr. Susanne Kreutzer: and Prof. Dr. Karen Nolte: Following a positive reaction by the editors, manuscripts will have to be submitted until November 30, 2024 and undergo a peer review process.