May 12th is an important date to all nurses, as it is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who is widely considered the founder of modern nursing. In January 1974, this day was finally officially made International Nurses Day. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has announced the new theme for International Nurses Day 2022: “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health” focusing on the need to protect, support and invest in the nursing profession to strengthen health systems around the world. Every year, International Nurses Day provides us with a precious moment to reflect on the nursing profession and the many contributions made by nurses around the globe. International Nurses Day has been created so that we can pay honor and tribute to all of the nurses around the world and the incredible work they do. It is crazy to think about a world without nurses. Who would be there to care for us when we’re not feeling well? Nurses bring so much to our lives, and the lives of the people that we love, and so it is only right that we have a day that honors them and recognizes all of their efforts! As the central pillar of patient care – and almost every other aspect of healthcare – there is no denying nurses can make a difference, showing up time and time again when they’re needed most, individually and collectively.On this International Nurses day, nurses have every reason to stand tall. They are intrinsic to direct patient care, nursing education, research, nurse entrepreneurship, medical product development, thought leadership, journalism, blogging, podcasting and so much more than can be contained in this brief article. Nurses have their skilled hands and keen minds in so many areas, and their critical thinking, compassion, intuition and insight are immeasurable. The world is learning the truth that nurses are indispensable, and International Nurses Day is a time to acknowledge that fact and celebrate nurses’ hard work on behalf of the billions of citizens of this besieged yet beautiful planet of ours. Nurses have a very varied role and they are responsible for a number of different things in the workplace. This includes writing care plans for patients, assisting with evaluations and tests, setting up blood transfusions and drips, checking and administering drugs and injections, observing and recording the condition of patients. They will also maintain patient records, mentor junior and student nurses, organise staff, and reassure patients and their relatives. This merely scratches the surface! From responding quickly to emergencies to planning hospital discharges and carrying out routine investigations, the list goes on! Nurses certainly have a huge role to play when it comes to the health and wellbeing of people all around the world. Nurses have an enormous amount of knowledge and many diverse skills they spend years perfecting and developing, all the time working in decidedly tough environments where extreme stress is just a part of the job. Nurses help bring new life into the world, care tirelessly for the sick and injured, and sometimes watch the patients they did everything to save pass away despite their best efforts. On many occasions, it was a vigilant nurse who noticed a mistake in a doctor’s prescription in time to save someone’s life.
Acknowledge the hard work, long hours, and emotional duress that are part of the life of every nurse on International Nurses Day. In 2021, WHO adopted the document Global Strategic Directions on Nursing and Midwifery 2021–2025, covering four key policy areas: education, jobs, leadership, and service delivery. Its recommendations include: 1) educate enough midwives and nurses with competencies to meet population health needs; 2) create jobs, manage migration, and recruit and retain midwives and nurses where they are most needed; 3) strengthen nursing and midwifery leadership throughout health and academic systems; and ensure that these staff are supported, respected, protected, motivated, and equipped to safely and optimally contribute in their service delivery settings. Nurses and midwives play an essential role in achieving health outcomes thanks to their experience, workforce size, and outreach in remote areas and among vulnerable populations and minority groups. However, challenges persist, such as scarcity (especially in remote areas), constant and increasing migration, unsafe and indecent working conditions, non-competitive wages, and lack of compliance or professional regulations. WHO and partners launched the first ever State of the Worlds’ Nursing Report, which provides a snapshot of the global nursing workforce as well as highlights the scale of the challenge we face and provides feasible policies for governments to invest in nursing so that Health for All can become a reality. By developing their nursing workforces, countries can achieve the triple impact of improving health, promoting gender equality and supporting economic growth. Strengthening nursing will have the additional benefits of promoting gender equity , contributing to economic development and supporting other Sustainable Development Goals. The COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses caused by underinvestment in health systems around the world. The theme for International Nurses Day 2022 demonstrates the need to invest in nursing, to build a resilient, highly qualified nursing workforce and to protect nurses’ rights in order to transform health systems to meet the needs of individuals and communities now and into the future. In a statement ICN President Dr Pamela Cipriano said: “Nurses have suffered tremendously throughout the pandemic. They have been unnecessarily exposed to the virus, faced attacks from the public, suffered from extreme workloads, and continue to be underpaid and undervalued. If governments continue to put off investing in the health workforce, it will be to the detriment of health systems everywhere. There is no health without a health workforce! As we mark this, day, we urge administration to ensure:
• That the occupational safety and health of nurses and all health workers, including notably, unhindered access to personal protective equipment so they can safely provide care and reduce infections in health care settings.
• Nurses and all health care workers have access to mental health support, timely pay, sick leave and insurance; as well as access to the most up-to-date knowledge and guidance required to respond to all health needs, including outbreaks.
• Nurses are given the financial support and other resources required to help respond to and control COVID19 and future outbreaks It is essential that governments support and invest in their nurses.
COVID19 reinforces the need for investment in nursing jobs, education, leadership. A nurse is one who opens the eyes of a new born & gently closes the eyes of a dying man. It is indeed a high blessing to be first and last to witness the beginning and end of life.
(The author is a Nursing Research Scholar. Views are his own)