Pope Francis Supports Year of Nurse and Midwife

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Pope Francis Supports Year of the Nurse and Midwife
Image via: Vatican News (YouTube)
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At a public gathering, the leader of the Catholic Church called attention to 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. 

Pope Francis’ message

Pope Francis told pilgrims who were gathered at St Peter’s square on Sunday, January 19, for the Angelus prayer that he was pleased that 2020 had been designated as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

“I am pleased to recall that 2020 has been internationally designated as the Year of Nurses and Midwife,” the Pope said. He added, “Nurses are the most numerous and closest to the sick, and midwives are perhaps the noblest of the professions. Let us pray for all of them, that they may do their precious work in the best possible way”.

Annette Kennedy, President of the ICN, expressed her appreciation for the Pope’s support for the important work done by nurses and midwives. “The Pope’s leadership should galvanize politicians around the world and encourage them to make the right choices, which must include starting massive recruitment drives to avert the predicted shortages over the next decade,” she said.

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Message for World Day of the Sick

Earlier, on January 3, the Vatican released Pope Francis’ message for the 28th World Day of the Sick on February 11 – a day on the Catholic calendar.  He called on health care professionals to remember that all treatment was in the service of the sick person. The noun “person” should take priority over “sick”. “In your work, may you always strive to promote the dignity and life of each person, and reject any compromise,” he said.

The Pope also expressed the hope that healthcare institutions and governments would not neglect social justice for financial concerns. “It is my hope that, by joining the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, efforts will be made to cooperate in ensuring that everyone has access to suitable treatments for preserving and restoring their health.”

Nurse saved the pope’s life

Pope Francis has in the past often praised the work of nurses and stressed their role as “experts in humanity” because of their continuous close contact with patients. He also frequently recalls the story of how the actions of a nurse saved his life when he was a young man.  

Frieda Paton is a registered nurse with a Master’s degree in nursing education. Her passion for nursing education, nursing issues and advocacy for the profession were ignited while she worked as an education officer, and later editor, at a national nurses’ association. This passion, together with interest in health and wellness education since her student days, stayed with her throughout her further career as a nurse educator and occupational health nurse. Having reached retirement age, she continues to contribute to the profession as a full-time freelance writer. In the news and feature articles she writes for Nurseslabs, she hopes to inspire nursing students and nurses on the job to reflect on the trends and issues that affect their profession and communities - and play their part in advocacy wherever they find themselves.

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