On February 20, nurses around the globe gathered to celebrate the kick off of a new global nursing campaign called Nursing Now. This type of collective intention is now possible due to advances in technology and communication. Nurses representing sixteen countries are represented on the board; comprised of two-thirds women and two-thirds nurses. The non-nurses are supporters of the campaign and major influencers including the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses.
Lord Nigel Crisp, one of the co-chairs of the initiative, which will last three years, opened the live-streamed event by saying, "It is time to pay more attention to nurses." He included the over all goal of Nursing Now is "to raise the profile and status of nurses so we can improve health globally."
The reasons the time is now for nurses to take the helm of healthcare globally included:
*We are experiencing significant changes in diseases including a huge increase in non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and mental health issues that are best addressed by nurses.
*Increase rise in the burden of disease
*Complications arising from Climate Change and Migration
*Scarce healthcare resources
As well as other concerning reasons.
Dr. Catherine Hannaway, a nurse and the campaign's manager, outlined the five key areas of focus:
1. To advocate with and on behalf of nurses to maximize nursing’s contribution to achieving health for all. Nurses need to play a key role in new, innovative ways to serve the global health needs. Included in this: community and home-based health initiatives, expanding holistic and people-centered services with more attention to mental health and wellbeing. Also of importance is better preventive health strategies and improved use of technology.
2. The campaign will advocate for a greater investment in more nurses, improving education, professional development, standards, regulation and employment conditions for nurses across the globe.
3. Help empower nurses to use their knowledge, skills, and expertise to full potential.
4. Support and encourage nurses to develop innovative practices, becoming even more involved in leading on the planning and delivering of treatment of health, health promotion and disease prevention. A particular emphasis will be on primary and community care settings.
5. The campaign will advocate for more nurses in senior leadership positions-giving far greater involvement and influence for nurses and midwives on global and national health policy. We will advocate for at least 75% of all countries across the world to have a chief nurse as part of their most senior management team in health. In addition, these very senior nurses will be skilled, mentored and supported to play key roles to ensure all policy on health, and healthcare, acknowledge the role of nursing and nurses in their plans.
As a nurse for nearly thirty years I felt several things as I participated in the United States site in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for the event.
1. First, and foremost, a sense of pride welled up inside to be a nurse and for the relentless dedication nurses around the world enact to improve the health of their fellow human beings.
2. I felt validated on many levels: the struggles we experience as nurses are not isolated-speaker after speaker had my head nodding confirming the struggles and challenges we nurses face globally.
3. I felt heard. Listening to non-nursing leaders acknowledging our struggles and making a commitment to help gave me hope. There was also a sense of urgency; a recognition that this is a monumental task, not a quick fix, but very much needed. In fact, if we do nothing, it is predicted that we will have a nursing and nurse midwife shortage of nine million by 2030 globally.
4. I felt empowered. The world, including The World Health Organization wants us to lead change in healthcare! I have no doubt that any nurse on the planet could hand in a list of what they can do to be part of this, what they need to do it and a list of other ideas they have never had the chance to implement yet.
5. I felt moved. I was not alone. As I looked around the room while the various speakers presented stories of what is going on in their respective countries, there were times I felt tears building, and so did others.
6. I felt grateful. Finally, let me repeat this, FINALLY, we have non-nurse advocates including Her Royal Highness, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, who will helping to champion and support the campaign for the next three years. They recognize this is not a nurse issue. This is a health need for all of us.
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