alec stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

In celebration and recognition of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife.” As part of this initiative, WHO is holding seminars, publishing papers, and is developing the first-ever State of the World’s Nursing report which will release at the 73rd World Health Assembly.

According to WHO, “The State of the World’s Nursing report will describe how the nursing workforce will help deliver universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals and highlight areas for policy development for the next three to five years.”

Recognizing the vast contributions of nurses and midwives everywhere, WHO’s State of the Nursing Report will highlight significant elements of the professions, why 2020 was designated to bring awareness to their work, and the strides nurses have made to help WHO achieve is overarching healthcare goals:

  • As part of a strong interprofessional team, they’re making significant contributions to delivering on the commitments made in the 2018 Astana Declaration on Primary Health Care by providing patient-centered care in the community.
  • Awareness is important, because both professions are facing a global shortage of workers.
  • For all countries to reach the WHO’s Sustainable Development Goal on health and well-being, the organization estimates that the world will need an additional 9 million nurses and midwives by 2030.
  • Nurses serve a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention, and delivering primary and community care. They provide care in emergency settings and are key to achieving universal health coverage as designated by the 2018 Astana declaration.
  • Global goals depend on having a sufficient number of well-trained and educated, regulated and well-supported nurses and midwives available. They must receive pay and recognition commensurate to the services and quality of care that they provide.
  • Nurses and midwives make up 50% of the global healthcare workforce.

The organization also noted that nursing leaders and their home networks are central to ensuring the validity of data for the report and critical in ongoing policy discussions.

At ONS, every year is the year of the nurse. Its members will be vital to the ongoing conversations and efforts spanning WHO’s global initiative. Learn more and get involved to advocate for your profession—now and in the future.