Global Nursing Reports: May 2021

Each year at this time I write a short piece to reflect on National Nursing Week in Canada and follow what others are posting on social media. This year there isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said already by nursing leaders and through Canadian media coverage of nursing during COVID times. I do want to commend leaders in nursing organizations and to thank colleagues for the tremendous work they have been doing under such difficult circumstances. I think about nurses I have known in India, Nepal, and South Africa and wonder how they’re doing. I hear stories about nurses in all parts of Canada who continue to be key to the COVID response and I learn from colleagues in my circle about their recent experiences with the vaccination rollout in British Columbia.

International Council of Nurses May 2021

ICN celebrates International Nurses Day on May 12 each year. This year, it has released an excellent report Nurses: A Voice to Lead – A Vision for Future Healthcare. The report calls for nurses to become the “architects and designers” of health systems, not only the people who deliver care. Among the report’s key recommendations are that governments embrace this new global strategy for nursing and embed its recommendations into their national healthcare strategies.

A graphic that captures the vision for future health care is found on page 7 highlighting the report’s framework and recommendations. It lists six aspects of health care transformation and five ways to support nurses to leverage a better health system. Transformation includes a renewed emphasis on public health nursing, investments in innovation along with greater attention to quality and affordable care. Approaches for supporting nurses focus on safe workplaces, valuing the role of nurses, and better access to education and professional development. This year’s report provided information on a survey of National Nursing Associations on aspects of the COVID response and current issues for evolving the profession. The report is illustrated with country spotlights from the nursing associations and media reports.

Another major report published this month marks the culmination of the global Nursing Now campaign – Agents of Change: the story of the Nursing Now campaign. Although I had followed the campaign since its launch in 2018, I hadn’t been aware of all the impressive accomplishments described in the report. The appraisal of the process and outcomes to date are worth reviewing; it is interesting to know that the reach extended to 729 Nursing Now groups in 126 countries. There’s a strong message to build on the campaign’s momentum as noted on page 14:

“The Nursing Now campaign has generated tremendous energy from nurses and their allies. They have truly come together as agents of change. It is critical at this pivotal moment, as the world turns its attention to rebuilding health systems for the future, that nurses do not lose this momentum.”

Holloway et al. (2021).

A final note for nurses with an interest in global health policy, ICN’s Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI) is worth exploring as a career development step. BC’s Angela Wignall shared her enthusiasm and described her recent experience as a GNLI scholar in a two-part blog for the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC: Part 1 on the ICN Global Nursing Leadership Institute and Part 2 on Nursing Bodies: Learning from Global Examples. To learn more, please see the GNLI program overview with details about the program and the application process.

By Nora Whyte – May 22, 2021

I acknowledge with respect that I live on the Unceded traditional territory of the K’òmoks First Nation.


Holloway, A., Thomson, A., Stilwell, B., Finch, H., Irwin, K., and Crisp, N.(2021). Agents of Change: the story of the Nursing Now campaign. Nursing Now/Burdett Trust for Nursing. London.

International Council of Nurses. (2021). Nurses: A Voice to Lead – A Vision for Future Healthcare. Geneva.