Nurses across the globe are working together as a united front against the COVID-19 pandemic and as a much-needed support for each other. Today’s International Nurses Day honors that dedication with the motto of “Nursing the World to Health,” a theme that’s spot-on appropriate for the times.

Sponsored by the International Council of Nurses (ICN), a federation of more than 130 nursing organizations throughout the world, International Nurses Day is always held on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, long considered the founder of today’s nursing profession. The day honors nurses for all they do and helps spread the importance of support for the nursing industry all over the world.

Because nurses work with all people and treat a range of short-term and chronic conditions and health problems, they are the caregivers who address the global health problems from the very front lines. Whether it’s in the most state-of-the-art hospital facility or in a patient’s living room, nurses provide care, education, emotional support, and resources. They do this in the most dire circumstances and within the safety of structured organizations, sometimes worried about their own health and safety.

The Nursing the World to Health theme highlights some of the challenges nurses face every day across the globe. The incorrect ideas that they aren’t leading, active participants in healthcare or some of the discrimination they face on and off the job are addressed in the ICN’s report for International Nurses Day 2020 Resources and Evidence.

Promoting the lifesaving work nurses do, how involved they are in healthcare leadership, and their vital role in reshaping progressive healthcare policy worldwide is all essential to helping the public understand the value and relevance of the nursing industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world exactly how dedicated nurses are to their patients—even risking their lives, and some losing their lives—to provide care to people who need it. It has also shown clearly that nurses need more support and that the world needs more nurses. The shocking reports that healthcare staff ran short of personal protective equipment shows glaring faults that exist and put nurses directly in harm’s way. Nurses are also called to navigate the systems in different countries that place healthcare on varying levels of importance and relevance to the greater good. And they also must work within the confines of the resources available to them where they are.

THE ICN sees hope in the growth in nursing leadership and influence throughout the world. As each nurse works to provide the best care, to maintain or exceed the nursing standards, to commit to lifelong learning, and to support their fellow nurses and healthcare teams, the nursing industry will see positive change.

Happy International Nurses Day!

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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