As we prepare to celebrate Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday in 2020, organizations around the world are using the occasion to put the spotlight on nursing. The campaigns may be different, but the focus is the same: how can we ensure that nurses have the ability to work to the fullest scope of their education, their practice and, if applicable, their licensure? How can we harness the power of nursing to build a healthier and more equitable world?
The United States recently joined more than 60 groups and countries around the world to be part of the Nursing Now Global Campaign. This three-year initiative, run in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the World Health Organization (WHO), works with partners to advocate for more nurses in leadership positions and aims to raise the status and profile of nursing.
Backed by AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action is working in every state to strengthen nursing on multiple fronts. Goals are based on recommendations from the National Academy of Medicine’s (formerly the Institute of Medicine) Future of Nursing report. They include improved access to care, increased diversity in nursing, more nurses on boards, improved nursing education, greater interprofessional collaboration, and more.
Building on the Future of Nursing report, the National Academy of Medicine launched its Future of Nursing 2020-2030study in March 2019. An ad hoc committee of distinguished nurse executives, nurse educators, physicians and public health experts is tasked to extend the vision for the nursing profession into 2030 and chart a path for the nation’s 4 million nurses to improve the health and well-being of the US population. I was privileged to be among the nurse leaders who presented ideas to the committee at its inaugural meeting on March 20.
How can the nursing workforce help deliver universal health care and meet sustainable development goals (SDG) over the next three to five years? What is the status of midwifery services throughout the world, and what are the future challenges? The WHO will address these questions and more in two reports – the State of the World’s Nursing and the State of the World’s Midwifery – at the World Health Assembly in 2020.
Both reports will inform national policy dialogue on strengthening nursing and midwifery and accelerating progress across the SDGs, which include ending poverty, improving health and education, reducing inequality, spurring economic growth and fighting climate change.
The WHO plans to make nursing the focus of World Health Day in 2020. World Health Day (April 7) raises awareness of the need to improve global health.
A greater voice for nurses and a stronger, better-prepared nursing workforce will not only transform the profession but also promote health and health equity around the world. Florence Nightingale would be proud.