The world needs to invest in nursing education, jobs, and leadership if it intends to prevent the projected global shortage of nurses by 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on April 6, 2020, in its State of the World’s Nursing 2020 report, a first-of-its kind look at nurses’ critical role in international health care.

“The State of the World’s Nursing 2020: Investing in Education, Jobs, and Leadership comes as the world witnesses unprecedented political commitment to universal health coverage,” the organization wrote. “At the same time, our emergency preparedness and response capacity is being tested by the current COVID-19 outbreak and mass population displacement caused by conflict. Nurses provide vital care in each of these circumstances. Now, more than ever, the world needs them working to the full extent of their education and training.”

Launched as part of WHO’s designated Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the report specifically urged world leaders and governments to:

  • Massively accelerate nursing education to address global needs, meet domestic demand, and respond to changing technologies and advancing models of integrated health and social care.
  • Create at least six million new nursing jobs by 2030, primarily in low- and middle-income countries, to offset the projected shortages and redress the inequitable distribution of nurses across the world.
  • Strengthen current and future nurse leadership to elevate their role in health policy formulation and decision making and improve the effectiveness of healthcare and social care systems.

The Year of the Nurse, which ONS and its leaders enthusiastically support, is an international year-long celebration of nurses’ work. In addition, it raises awareness of the challenging conditions they often face and advocates for increased investments in the workforce.

“ONS invests in nursing education, workforce development, and leadership every year—to us, it’s always the Year of the Nurse,” ONS President Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, said. “Supporting that work on a global level is essential to nursing’s future.”