2020 International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

A new decade is here! As we kick off 2020, we celebrate YOU! The World Health Assembly, the supreme decision-making body for the World Health Organization (WHO), designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The celebration also honors the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, recognized by many as the founder of modern nursing.

2020 is a very significant year for the WHO. They are launching the first State of the World’s Nursing report, an assessment of the nursing workforce in member states. This is part of a larger campaign to strengthen universal health coverage. According to the WHO, nurses and midwives account for more the 50 percent (22 million nurses and two million midwives) of the global healthcare workforce. While these numbers may seem large, in actuality the world requires 18 million more health workers with about half of them needing to be nurses and midwives. The WHO has partnered with many organizations including the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), International Council of Nurses (ICN), Nursing Now, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

This year-long effort is dedicated to celebrating the work of nurses and midwives, highlight the challenging circumstances they often face, and push for increased finances in the workforce. They will also advocate for proper standards to ensure that nurses and midwives can work to their full ability. The main areas for investment include employing more specialist nurses, making midwives and nurses central to primary health care, and supporting them in health promotion and disease prevention. 

In a statement by American Nurses Association Enterprise (ANA) announcing support of WHO’s initiative, ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, said he “looks forward to a year of opportunity to collaborate with other organizations to communicate an accurate view of the critical work nurses do”.

“As the largest group of health care professionals in the U.S. and the most trusted profession, nurses are with patients 24/7 and from the beginning of life to the end. Nurses practice in all health care settings and are filling new roles to meet the ever-growing demand for health and health care services,” Grant said. “Despite the major role nurses play in health care delivery and community outreach, there are opportunities to increase understanding of the value of nursing in order to expand investment in education, practice and research, as well as increase the numbers of nurses who serve in leadership positions.”

As a display of affirmation of commitment to enhance the nursing profession in 2020, ANA Enterprise will expand National Nurses Week, routinely celebrated from May 6-12, to a full month-long celebration designed to honor nursing professionals.

As we do every day and every year, Nurses 24/7 honors and observes our amazing family of nurses and thanks you for always going above and beyond.

To learn more about the World Health Organization (WHO) visit https://www.who.int/

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