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2020: Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

By Team Altus
Published Jan 05, 2020 | Updated Jan 25, 2023 | 5 min read

Nurses and midwives heal and touch our lives in profound ways when we are most vulnerable with their skill and compassion. The work they face day in and day out is challenging, demanding, and selfless.

Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020

In 2020, the world is focusing on strengthening nursing and midwifery for providing health services. The year has been designated the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” by The World Health Organization (WHO). This announcement comes on the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, making 2020 an even more important year for nurses and midwives.

How 2020 Became the Year of the Nurse and Midwife

The process of looking at nurses and midwives started a few years ago with the work from Nursing Now! Campaign. The evidence, work, and results from this campaign greatly influenced WHO’s decision. The WHO board looked at all of the information from Nursing Now! and the of affairs to unanimously vote for the theme to be nurses and midwives.

Midwives play an important role in healthcare. It’s not just about delivering babies. They have an active role in antenatal care, neonatal care, and even mental health. Their extensive range of healthcare services goes on. WHO is making it their mission to maximize those.

Strengthening these crucial roles will have the additional benefits of promoting gender equality, contributing to economic development, and supporting other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year is to celebrate all that they do for healthcare and their patients.

Why the World Needs More Healthcare Professionals

The decision to make 2020 the year of the nurse and the midwife came at a time when there is a dire need for more healthcare professionals.

The baby boomer generation produced 76 million people. Nearly 11,000 people are retiring per day. This generation is also living longer than previous generations. The two of these combined means there is a greater need for healthcare, and thus more healthcare professionals. 6 million more jobs are needed to be filled by 2030 to meet healthcare requirements for everyone.

It has also been stated that over 55% of WHO Member States have less than 40 nursing and midwifery personnel per 10,000 patients. This number will continue to grow in the coming years as more professionals retire.

Combating Nurse Shortage

The nursing shortage, as talked about above, is a global issue. There are simply not enough nurses or midwives to offer care to every patient that needs it.

One way WHO plans to combat that issue is to take a hard look at the evidence from the first-ever World State of Nursing report. The report showed an uptick in the need for education and training. New healthcare professionals want to be fully prepared for what they might encounter and hospitals want to know they’re hiring professionals who can complete their tasks.

If hospitals don’t invest in more recruiting efforts to reach new and potential healthcare professionals, the shortage will continue as well.

Nursing and Midwifery Resource Center

WHO is committed to global public health information through multiple mechanisms. The Nursing and Midwifery resource center is an online portal where you can find guidelines, documents, and other information. The resources are dedicated to voicing the importance of regulations, education and training, and the practice of nursing and midwifery.

Broken down by regions, the information is to be used to introduce and improve nursing and midwifery services to individuals and groups in benefitting countries.

The website offers a variety of resources such as implementation tools, guidance and evidence, service delivery approaches, education and training, mobile and digital health apps, and other materials that communicate public health information.

The resource portal was built with the healthcare community in mind. The portal features feedback forms to give the user a voice on what they found useful or how they think the site or information can improve.

How to Support the Year of the Nurse and Midwife Campaign

We can all celebrate and respect nurses and midwives as part of the healthcare team. Next time you see a nurse, thank them!

Longer-term actions are making sure government, education, and other organizational systems see the importance of investing in nurses and midwives. Education systems should be producing graduates that are fit for purpose. Governments should see the value of the investment and alter budgets to account for action items.

Every big and small contribution will collectively help the world step in the right direction.

2022 Goals

Nurses and midwives will be celebrated in this first period and then action will be taken to help governments invest in education, employment, and retention.

WHO will work on supporting governments by helping them look at key issues they might be faced with. This engagement will lead to solutions that will work for governments locally.

WHO plans to look specifically at each area to see what solutions could work and in what context. They plan to involve key stakeholders such as the government and the youth and not just ministries of health, but miniseries of labor, employment, and finance.

  • Celebrate the contributions of nurses and midwives

  • Acknowledge, appreciate and address the challenging conditions nurses and midwives face while providing care

  • Advocate for increased investments in the nursing and midwifery workforce

In addition to WHO’s efforts, Altus also plans to continue to offer workstations on wheels that improve the way nurses and midwives work. The added mobility of these computer carts allows the nurses to always have a patient’s EHR data in sight, so they can focus on the patient more. Contact us to learn more about our computer carts and how Altus is supporting the year of the nurse and the midwife in 2020 and every year beyond.

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