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Year of the Nurse and Midwife Is a Call to Action for Nurse Leaders


The year 2020 and the new decade it ushers in might be a watershed moment in nursing. It is one in which there will be much to celebrate and be proud of.

The World Health Organization's declaration of this year as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife guarantees a year of extra recognition for the women and men who make up more than half of the healthcare professionals worldwide.

And this year, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of nursing's founder, Florence Nightingale.

Importance of the initiative

In May 2019, the WHO announced that for the first time in history an International Year of the Nurse and Midwife would be celebrated in 2020. This year the WHO honors nursing's vital position in transforming healthcare around the world and the countless benefits nurses and midwives bring to the health of the global population. Along with the year-long nursing and midwifery celebration, the organization decided that before the 73rd World Health Assembly, it would develop the first State of the World's Nursing Report as well as the State of the World's Midwifery 2020 report. In addition, a three-year Nursing Now campaign aimed at improving health globally by raising the status of nursing, which is set to culminate in 2020, will support dissemination and policy dialogue around both reports. The Year of the Nurse and Midwife initiative serves to underscore the importance of both the campaign and the two technical reports.

Importance of strong nursing leadership

This year will be special, and there's no question it will be an important year for nurses and nursing. As members of the largest group of professionals in healthcare, our pride in the profession will be evident throughout the year. Around the nation and the globe, there will be many special celebrations to recognize and highlight nurses and the contributions they make to healthcare worldwide.

For leaders, the year will be an especially important one. Good leadership is more than knowing its styles, models and theories. Leadership is at the heart of nursing, and good leaders are vital to the success of their nurses.

Like our founder, leaders are more than just managers or clinicians. They are nursing's movers and shakers, transformers and drivers of change. The best among them are the ones who possess the right blend of relationship skills, knowledge and professionalism, and who use those skills to motivate and inspire others. They're the ones who progress from their own learning, training and education to teach others. They're also the ones who go beyond honing their own skills to modelling these same skills for others. They grow their careers and advance professionally throughout the years of their nursing practice and help shape the career paths of other nurses.

Heed this call to action

The pride we have in nursing will be on parade all year, and during the year that pride will grow. Nurses and nurse leaders from around the nation and the world should answer the call of the initiative and participate in events in healthcare, educational and professional organizations.

A particularly important goal for leaders during the year will be to encourage participation and inclusivity among nurses in as many ways as possible. Programs and events showcasing the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife -- many of which are likely to take place during National Nurses Week -- will be designed and led by nurse leaders, and nurses everywhere should join in the celebrations.

Along with other professional nursing organizations, the American Nurses Association is invested in promoting the initiative, and is calling on leaders everywhere to excel, lead, and innovate. If you're a leader, guide your nurses and empower them. Be an agent of change. Use this year as a time to move the profession forward in every way possible, and be sure to stay abreast of various activities that are highlighted online.

Take these courses to learn more about leadership:

Developing Your Leadership Potential (1.25 contact hrs) The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine made recommendations to transform the nursing profession in their report "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health." A key message from the report is the recommendation that nurses be full partners together with physicians and other healthcare professionals in redesigning the country's healthcare system. This activity will provide practical strategies to help you develop your personal plan for developing your leadership potential regardless of your chosen career path. 

Transformational Leadership (0.5 contact hrs) Transformational leadership has been shown to be particularly effective in turbulent and uncertain environments, such as those found in today's healthcare organizations. This module explains what transformational leadership is, why transformational leadership is a key part of Magnet nursing organizations, and how it can promote work satisfaction among nurses and improve care for patients.

 Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) Certification Review Course (5.0 contact hrs) Get the reliable skills you deserve as you seek to become certified or renew your nurse executive advanced certification.