The Urgent Need for Investment in Nurses

The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife is shining the spotlight on nursing in ways no one could have predicted. Across the globe, nurses have stepped up to meet the COVID-19 crisis and save lives. Their selfless work has focused the world’s attention well beyond the core purpose of the original 2020 celebrations – raising awareness of modern-day nursing and highlighting the power and potential of nurses to address major health challenges.

Now comes the World Health Organization’s The State of the World’s Nursing 2020 – a highly anticipated, in-depth look at the condition of nurses and nursing internationally. Produced in partnership with the International Council of Nurses and Nursing Now, the report provides much-needed data and evidence that underscores the critical need for better support, better investment, and better resourcing of the nursing and midwifery professions.

The COVID-19 pandemic and pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage (UHC) are key reasons to commit to an agenda that will drive and sustain progress over the next decade. The State of the World’s Nursing recommends 10 key actions to help us get there:

1.     Countries must increase funding to offset nursing shortages and educate and employ nearly 6 million more nurses.

2.     Countries must strengthen capacity for health care workforce data collection, analysis and use.

3.     Nurse mobility must be monitored and managed.

4.     Nurse education and training must focus on primary health care and UHC.

5.     Nurse leadership and governance must be strengthened, especially in vulnerable countries.

6.     Planners and regulators must ensure that nurses are practicing to the full extent of their education and training.

7.     Policymakers must support a positive workplace environment for nurses, free of harassment, violence and discrimination.

8.     Countries must implement equitable and gender-neutral nursing workforce policies.

9.     Countries must modernize nursing regulation.

10.  Collaboration – among and across government agencies, regulators, nursing associations, educational institutions, students and grassroots groups – is essential.

Now more than ever, the world needs a robust and well-supported health care workforce. In the wake of COVID-19 and other global challenges, the time is right to advocate with key stakeholders and leaders who have the power to make this happen. When the COVID-19 storm clears, it will usher in a new beginning for better health for all. This report sheds light with its recommendations for a way forward.

I encourage you to read the full report, here.

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