As the member states of the Joint Action begin to meet, some have expressed concern that the migration of nurses within Europe may have unintended consequences.
"Hungary and Poland are worried that their workforce is being poached by richer countries," said Sharp, who attended the first Joint Action session in Brussels in April.
While weaker economies fear losing their best and brightest workers, wealthier countries worry about a potential influx of job seekers in a time when Europe is still in the throes of a recession. This scenario could become a reality in January 2014, when the Eastern European countries of Romania and Bulgaria gain unrestricted access to the EU.
The migration of nurses is further exacerbated by a significant wage disparity within Europe. While a nurse in the U.K. can expect a salary of about $2,800 a month, according to National Health Service estimates, a nurse in Romania can earn less than $200.
Back in Poland, about 500 nurses have requested official certificates to seek employment abroad over the past decade, said Teresa Kruczkowska, head of the self-governing Regional Parliament of Nurses in Poznan. In an area of only 3.5 million inhabitants, this would be enough to staff two large hospitals.
Kaseja, the nurse at the children's intensive care unit in Poznan, said she loves working with children. But would she consider moving to a better-paying country?
She hesitates. In the small ward -- its walls painted a cheerful green -- her young patients lay motionless beneath the bulky, dated ventilator machines.
"Maybe," she says.