Nursing the World to Health

I am writing this post as National Nursing Week in Canada draws to a close. It has been a strange time of celebration mixed with sadness at the losses experienced globally and the ongoing concern about the health of populations and the long road to recovery.

During this Nursing Week, I found that our Canadian nursing leaders reflected what many of us have been thinking about our profession during the time of COVID. I greatly appreciated reading CNA President Claire Betker’s editorial in the Canadian Nurse: On the importance of nurses in 2020. Claire highlighted the opportunity to raise the profile of the profession during the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife and demonstrated the many ways in which Canadian nurses have made an impact.

International Nurses Day was celebrated globally on May 12, the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This year’s theme, Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health captured both the spirit and the urgency of nursing’s vital global role. The International Council of Nurses provided excellent resources on its International Nurses Day site and was highly visible in media interviews and in generating social media energy. ICN’s CEO Howard Catton tweeted: “Let our celebrations be a clarion call for real commitments to actions and investments to support nurses to do the work that the world desperately needs them to do.” Annette Kennedy, ICN President, expressed her appreciation to the global nursing community and held a great video conversation with Dr. Tedros on May 12. It’s worth viewing and reflecting on their messages!

This week also provided opportunities to profile the State of the World’s Nursing 2020 Report, released in April 2020 and now gaining attention. This landmark publication has highlighted the urgent need for acceleration of nursing education, job creation and leadership. The report’s call to strengthen nursing leadership is “to ensure that nurses have an influential role in health policy formulation and decision-making, and contribute to the effectiveness of health and social care systems” (WHO, 2020).

Nursing Week 2020 has played out in a vastly different way than anticipated; however, there is no doubt that the theme of “Nursing the World to Health” is more important than ever as we face the remainder of 2020 using a professional, powerful and collective voice to lead.

By Nora Whyte – May 15, 2020

Nursing Now: Ready for 2020

Nursing Now launched in 2018 as a global collaboration among the Burdett Trust for Nursing, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the World Health Organization (WHO). I have been following developments and have used this Blog to share highlights and links to updates from time to time.

On the cusp of 2020, Nursing Now is perfectly positioned to play a leadership role during the 2020 Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. Events and celebrations are planned throughout the year. In their most recent update (November 2019), the Nursing Now campaign team stated: “During 2020, we are united in our ambition to propel nursing and midwifery into the spotlight and onto the agenda of governments, with the ultimate goal of improving health globally.”

As Nursing Now has gained momentum, I have been pleased to note the connection to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There’s increasing recognition that nurses and midwives are contributing to the SDGs and are absolutely vital to delivering Universal Health Coverage by 2030.

A new aspect of Nursing Now announced during the ICN Congress in Singapore in June is the Nightingale Challenge currently being promoted as a key leadership development strategy for 2020 and beyond:

The Challenge is asking every health employer around the world to provide leadership and development training for a group of their young nurses and midwives during 2020, the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, to support them as practitioners, and enhance their skills as advocates and leaders in health.

Nursing Now Canada launched in 2019 with plans for national initiatives in three ‘pillars’ as outlined in its June 3, 2019 media release:

  • Nursing Leadership pillar – to establish a hub to educate, empower and support regulated nurses to lead, advocate, innovate, influence public policy and create sustainable change in health.
  • Chief Nursing Officer pillar – to establish federal, provincial and territorial chief nursing officers in leadership positions within ministries of health.
  • Indigenous pillar – to support nurses and midwives in providing culturally safe care and to strengthen the power of Indigenous nurses.

The Canadian Nurses Association is the official link for Canadian nurses to the global Nursing Now campaign and is carrying out this three-point action plan in partnership with the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association and Indigenous Services Canada.

From here at home to events on the world stage, communities of nurses and midwives will be joining their colleagues and supporters in celebrating the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife in 2020.

Update November 23, 2019

It was a delight to read an editorial published in The Lancet today (Volume 394) entitled 2020: unleashing the full potential of nursing and drawing attention to Nursing Now and the Nightingale Challenge. The editorial makes the case for enhancing nursing to enhance health and looks to the opportunity of 2020 “to showcase the evidence and impact of what nurses and midwives do, and to ensure that they are enabled, resources and supported to meet the world’s health needs.” Thanks to The Lancet for this timely editorial and the social media interest it is generating.

By Nora Whyte – November 21, 2019