When the World Health Organization designated 2020 — the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth — as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, we were thrilled.
Of course, we at The DAISY Foundation are among the nursing profession’s most ardent cheerleaders, so we think every year is the Year of the Nurse. But the focus the WHO is putting on nursing is important, not only to nurses and midwives and to others who work in healthcare, but also to those of us who are patients and family members.
Placing such visible, authoritative attention on the essential role nurses play in healthcare will help raise the status of nurses throughout the world. This may not seem like a big deal to us in the U.S., where nursing is the most trusted profession year after year, according to Gallup’s polls.
But in some other countries, where nurses and midwives are perceived as less significant providers and nursing is not seen in the professional light with which we view it, the WHO’s attention will make a difference in elevating the profession.
For the first time in history, nurses and midwives will be celebrated during 2020 throughout the world for the role they play in the health of the global population.
Pride in nurses worldwide
In 2019, we had the opportunity to meet Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, director general of the WHO. In announcing this milestone for nurses, he said, “WHO is proud to nominate 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. These two health professions are invaluable to the health of people everywhere. 2020 will be dedicated to highlighting the enormous sacrifices and contributions of nurses and midwives, and to ensuring that we address the shortage of these vital professions.”
Annette Kennedy, president of the International Council of Nurses, a DAISY Foundation Supportive Association, echoed the sentiments of WHO leadership.
“Florence Nightingale used her lamp to illuminate the places where nurses worked, and I hope the designation of 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife will provide us with a new, 20-20 vision of what nursing is in the modern era and how nurses can light the way to universal health coverage and healthcare for all,” she said.
This is nursing’s moment
How can we all get involved in this international celebration? Check out Nursing Now, a campaign launched in 2018 to improve health by highlighting the impact of nurses on patients, families and communities worldwide.
Work is being done under the Nursing Now banner around the world.
In the U.S., the work – known as Nursing Now USA — is being led by the American Nurses Association, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Nursing, the University of Washington School of Nursing and the U.S. Public Health Service Chief Nurse Officer Rear Admiral Aisha K. Mix.
Key issues being addressed here are workplace violence, pay equity, staffing shortages and barriers to practice.
Promoting nurses locally
On a local level, ask the public relations department of your organization to highlight the compassion and skill of your nurses in their communications and advertising to your communities.
Promote your nurses as the stars they are in your organization. If you honor your nurses with the DAISY Award, we can share how others are using their DAISY Honoree stories to promote their organization’s excellent care. For example, UW Health in Wisconsin has produced powerful videos to highlight their DAISY nurse honorees. Click here to see other ways your DAISY program can help you celebrate the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
Every nurse and midwife has a lot to be proud of, and we at The DAISY Foundation will continue to shine the light on all the good they do for patients and families.
We are grateful to the WHO, ICN, ANA and others for the opportunity to celebrate and elevate the profession worldwide.
This 2020 WHO designation allows us to highlight what we have always known — that nurses are unsung heroes who deserve our utmost respect and especially our gratitude for giving so much of themselves to take care of the rest of us.
Find out all about The DAISY Foundation, its programs that honor nurses and its grant offerings in our digital edition.