We are valued, and we are needed and will be needed even more in the years to come. Across the world, there are daily media reports about the shortage of nurses and the fears that recruitment and training will not be able to keep up with the increasing demand – even in the near future. However, the message of the value and need for nurses has also come through clearly over the past year in worldwide initiatives, reports, and statements by world and healthcare leaders.
What the public says about nurses
We can be proud that the 2017 Gallup Poll ratings of various professions again confirmed that the public believes in nurses:
“Nurses Keep Healthy Lead as Most Honest, Ethical Profession. For the 16th consecutive year, Americans’ ratings of the honesty and ethical standards of 22 occupations finds nurses at the top of the list. More than eight in 10 (82%) Americans describe nurses’ ethics as “very high”.
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, praised nurses at the launch of the Nursing Now campaign:
“Nurses are always there, you care for us from the earliest years. You look after us in our happiest and saddest times. And for many, you look after us and our families at the end of our lives. Your dedication and professionalism are awe-inspiring.”
His Holiness Pope Francis, addressing a meeting of nurses:
“Being in contact with physicians and family members, in addition to the sick, you become, in hospitals, in healthcare facilities and in homes, the crossroads of a thousand relationships, which require attention, competence and compassion. Before the uniqueness of each situation, indeed, it is never enough to follow a protocol, but a constant (and tiresome) effort of discernment and attention to the individual person is required. All this makes your profession a veritable mission and makes you ‘experts in humanity.”
A study conducted in the United Kingdom and reported on in the British Medical Journal found that:
“Patients express a high level of confidence and trust in nurses, and their satisfaction with hospital care is less favourable when they perceive there are not enough nurses available […] our findings suggest that reducing missed nursing care by ensuring adequate numbers of RNs at the hospital bedside and improved hospital clinical care environments are promising strategies for enhancing patient satisfaction with care.”
Nurses are the key to achieving the UN sustainable development goal of Universal Health Coverage
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said the following when he addressed the ICN Congress in 2017:
“Nurses are key to achieving not just the health-related Sustainable Development Goals, but all the Sustainable Development Goals. Nurses are the foundation of our ambition to universal health coverage. That’s what we should believe. Your role in transforming our health systems to ensure everyone can lead healthy and productive lives is indispensable – and everybody should know that.”
Annette Kennedy, President of the International Council for Nurses, wrote in their Nurses Day Toolkit for 2018:
“The International Council of Nurses (ICN) believes that health is a human right. ICN is at the forefront of advocating for access to health and nurses are the key to delivering it.”
Following the 2018 International Nurses Day theme, Nurses: A Voice to Lead, Health is a Human Right, this toolkit presents compelling evidence showing how investment in nursing leads to economic development; and how improving conditions in which people live leads to cohesive societies and productive economies. And there are nurses working in everyday health care settings and in positions of influence and decision making that are doing this right now!
Let us join our voices together to be a voice to lead by supporting a people-centered approach to care and health systems, and ensuring our voices are heard in influencing health policy, planning and provision. On behalf of us all at ICN, Happy International Nurses Day!”
From “The Triple Impact Report” by the UK the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health, which gave rise to the Nursing Now Campaign:
“Nurses are by far the largest part of the professional health workforce and achieving universal health coverage globally will depend on them being able to use their knowledge and skills to the full. Yet they are too often undervalued and their contribution underestimated. There are enormous innovation and creativity in nursing and the potential for much more. Increasing the number of nurses, and developing nursing so that nurses can achieve their potential, will also have the wider triple impact of improving health, promoting gender equality and supporting economic growth.”
The “WHO Global strategy on human resources for health: Workforce 2030” report states that:
“The nursing scope of practice has been shown to be adaptable to population and patient health needs, and has been particularly successful in delivering services to the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations.”
And a few Nurses Day messages to celebrate you!
In the vein of the American Nurses Association (ANA) theme “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence” the following from Pamela Cipriano, President, American Nurses Association:
“Looking back, we know we’ve successfully used our voices and expertise to inspire, innovate, and influence to advance the health of our nation. I urge you to become passionate about public health and to advocate for the causes you feel strongly about.”
From Ginette Petitpas, the Canadian Minister of Health:
“This week – and every week – I want to thank nurses across Canada for their dedication and commitment to providing excellent care. I invite all Canadians to join me in celebrating nursing and all that nurses do to keep us healthy.”
And lastly, from the president of a hospital group in the USA, Bill Robertson:
“Nurses can be direct and objective, even stern. They can be sympathetic and appreciative. They are, by nature and training, consoling and caring. Compassion defines and motivates them. They set high standards for themselves and constantly strive to meet them. It is no wonder that our patients trust them and that we depend on them.”