With a respiratory virus pandemic surging through the world’s populations right now, the goals of the Great American Smokeout are as important and timely as they’ve ever been.
The COVID-19 virus can strike smokers and those with impaired lung functions especially hard, so the present is absolutely an important time to quit or to help your loved ones, colleagues, or patients with their quitting journey. The World Health Organization (WHO) offered this statement on its website, “Smoking any kind of tobacco reduces lung capacity and increases the risk of many respiratory infections and can increase the severity of respiratory diseases.”
Whether you’re a smoker or are just interested in how to help someone you know who is quitting, giving up smoking is one of the most important steps to committing to a healthy lifestyle. In addition to reducing the risk of cancer that is inherent with smoking, those who quit are able to reap the many benefits of giving up smoking–from better heart health to saving money on nicotine products.
Here’s what you need to know about quitting smoking.
“It’s Not Easy” Is an Understatement
Those who have quit say it’s one of the hardest things they have ever had to do. Smoking is physically addictive, and it’s also emotionally addictive. People who are trying to quit are breaking their body’s real craving for a substance that it depends on. But they are also breaking an ingrained habit that may have been used to fill a void whether it is to soothe, energize, distract, or relax. Tackling both of those at the same time is challenging, but millions of people have proven it can be done.
If You’re Trying to Quit
Talk to people who have quit to find what worked for them and then explore every option. Look at your habits so you can identify your triggers and be ready to deal with them. There are support groups, medications, and resources that can help—the WHO even has an AI approach to quitting. Find someone who can help motivate you and keep you going when it’s hard—whether that’s a friend, loved one, or a professional. Accept that quitting smoking is going to be as difficult physically as it is psychologically. You’re giving up something that is part of your daily routine.
If You’re Trying to Help Someone Quit
The decision to quit is a deeply personal one. You can offer support and distraction and can be a buddy, but it’s not up to you whether the person you’re supporting succeeds. If you’re trying to help someone who is quitting, talk about what will aid them the most. Do they want you to check in with them at certain times when the urge to smoke might be strongest (when they wake up, during work breaks, after meals) or do they want to be the one to reach out? Would it help if you set up times to go for a short walk or could find a few fidgets to keep their hands busy? Remember, if they don’t succeed the first time they try to quit, they aren’t alone. It takes most smokers more than one try to quit for good.
Taking the first step toward quitting is significant. Stating your intentions is half the battle—then it’s finding and following the best process to success. Join others during the Great American Smokeout and start your path to a healthier life.
The designation was made last year by WHO to help raise awareness of the nursing and midwifery professions and also to call attention to global health. Nurses and midwives, says WHO, are critical components for improving the health of people worldwide. By calling attention to the nurses and midwives who take care of people every day, it’s also shining a light on disparities that exist and that nurses are helping to bridge.
What makes 2020’s Year of the Nurse and the Midwife so special? It happens to be the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of the nursing profession. And 2020 is also the end year for several campaigns around nursing—the Institute of Medicine’s proposed goal for having 80 percent of nurses having earned a bachelor degree and WHO’s own three-year NursingNow! campaign that ends in 2020. NursingNow! focuses on how raising global health will raise the state of nursing and help support essential policies around nursing.
This year also marks the year WHO is developing a State of the World’s Nursing Report to be presented at the 73rd World Health Assembly to be held May 17 to 20 in Geneva. The organization is also contributing to a State of the World’s Midwifery 2020 report that will be released this spring.
As more attention is focused on the nursing profession and the role nurses play in offering primary care around the globe, the more strategic decisions will focus on strengthening the nursing industry and supporting nurses and midwives in their roles. The hope is that focus will bring an influx of funding into more research, career supports, and adding new or strengthening existing policies to protect nurses, midwives, and patients. With these positive and effective changes started, the path is paved for better working conditions, more nurses in the field, a more diverse and inclusive workforce to represent patient populations, and improved patient health.
As a goal, the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife is on target for what professional nurses need and want to hear and have action taken on. But the designation also speaks to the state of global health and the pivotal role nurses and midwives play in keeping humanity healthy, despite some declining rates of nurses.
Nurses work in all conditions in some of the most remote corners of the world to ensure that no matter where people live and no matter what conditions they live in, that they will be able to achieve the best health possible. That alone is a lofty goal and one that nurses get up every day and just do. At the very least, nurses deserve a year dedicated to the impact they bring. Let’s hope the Year of the Nurse brings the change nurses deserve.
Though well into her final trimester, Kate Middleton hasn’t let the impending birth of her third child stop her from attending royal engagements. At the very end of February 2018, the Duchess of Cambridge visited the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and St. Thomas’s Hospital in London. While there, Kate Middleton ran into the midwife who helped deliver her daughter Princess Charlotte, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, and the two shared a warm embrace.
But Middleton didn’t make the visit just to be reunited with her former midwife: She was there to become the second patron of the Royal College and to officially announce the Nursing Now 2020 campaign, which aims to raise the profile and status of nursing worldwide. As the name suggests, the three-year campaign is scheduled to last until 2020, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
“This campaign means a lot to me personally. My great-grandmother and grandmother were both volunteer nurses,” Middleton said in a speech she gave the campaign launch. “They would have learned first-hand from working with the Voluntary Aid Detachment and the Red Cross about the care and compassion that sometimes only nurses can provide.”
Find out everything you need to know about the Nursing Now 2020 campaign below.
Critical Roles Played by Nurses
Nurses are the heart of most health care teams, caring for patients from their first breaths to their last, helping with everything from checking blood pressure to offering diagnoses to administering shots and painkillers. “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,” Middleton said. “Your dedication and professionalism are awe-inspiring.”
As the Duchess of Cambridge went on to point out in her speech, sometimes nurses may be the only health care provider readily accessible in certain areas of the world, which is why it’s extremely important that enough nurses be trained and placed in the coming years. “In some parts of the world, nurses are perhaps the only qualified health care professionals in their communities, so your work is all the more vital,” she said.
Coming Shortage of Nurses
According to Middleton’s speech, 9 million more nurses will need to be trained by 2030 to meet the rising demands worldwide, which works out to about 2,000 more nurses each day for the next 12 years. Nursing Now 2020 hopes to start filling that gap by increasing the profile of nursing roles and raising awareness about becoming a nurse. Indeed, the nursing shortage has been deemed a global crisis since 2002, but the recruiting and retention of nurses hasn’t been able to keep up with the health care demands of a growing population.
Five Campaign Goals
To help increase the number of nurses, and to support nurses already working in the field, the Nursing Now website lists five main goals that the initiative hopes to achieve by 2020. They are:
Greater investment in improving education, professional development, standards, regulation and employment conditions for nurses.
Increased and improved dissemination of effective and innovative practice in nursing.
Greater influence for nurses and midwives on global and national health policy, as part of broader efforts to ensure health workforces are more involved in decision-making.
More nurses in leadership positions and more opportunities for development at all levels.
More evidence for policy and decision makers about: where nursing can have the greatest impact, what is stopping nurses from reaching their full potential and how to address these obstacles.
Basis for the Initiative
The goals and methods of the Nursing Now movement are based on a Triple Impact report, which was released by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health in October 2016. The report found that empowering nurses would not just improve health globally, but also build strong economies and promote gender equality (as the vast majority of nurses are still women). These three results combine to form the triple impact that nurses could potentially have. “The nursing contribution is unique because of its scale and the range of roles nurses play,” the report said.
Organizations Behind the Movement
Kate Middleton may be the most recognizable public face of the Nursing Now campaign, but two major health organizations are behind the campaigns: the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organization. The International Council of Nurses represents millions of nurses worldwide, and seeks to represent them, advance the profession, and influence health policy. The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that seeks to address international health policy. The campaign is also supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, an independent charitable trust that helps fund nurse-led projects.
A Global Campaign
The Nursing Now Campaign Board includes both nurses and non-nurses from 16 different countries to represent a truly international group. Official launch events were held in London (where Middleton spoke) as well as Geneva. Various international nursing associations also hosted their own launch events, with locations including Canada, China, Jordan, South Africa, Taiwan, and Macao.
Ways to Get Involved
Beyond advocating for nurses and nursing, individuals who wish to support the campaign can sign the Nursing Now pledge and share the social media kit on various platforms. If there is no existing Nursing Now group in their area, nurses and non-nurses may band together to form their own group, though the process is lengthy to ensure participants are committed.
Whether you live in a developing country or an advanced health care economy, the coming nursing shortage will affect the entire globe, and is being felt in some places already. Through its five goals, Nursing Now hopes to help meet that need by recruiting new nurses and empowering existing ones through greater leadership opportunities and better policy decisions. To learn more about Nursing Now 2020, visit the campaign website.
Nursing Now is organized by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, a UK-based charitable trust. As nurses’ status increases, their influence will be felt in policy, reputation, and the status of the professional nurse. Nurses themselves can begin to tackle some of the biggest challenges that are facing humanity in the next century.
No matter what location nurses practice, they face similar challenges. They want the best opportunity and training to offer their patients top-notch care so they can lead better and healthier lives on their own and within their communities. Nursing Now will push for those changes, but nurses will see them happen slowly in their own communities and then on a broader national level before becoming a worldwide trend.
The launch is the first step in an initiative that runs through 2020. Nursing Now will support other programs around the world and hep nurses become more able to influence the ways in which they work and effect change with patient and community health.
1. Greater investment in improving education, professional development, standards, regulation and employment conditions for nurses.
2. Increased and improved dissemination of effective and innovative practice in nursing.
3. Greater influence for nurses and midwives on global and national health policy, as part of broader efforts to ensure health workforces are more involved in decision-making.
4. More nurses in leadership positions and more opportunities for development at all levels.
5. More evidence for policy and decision makers about: where nursing can have the greatest impact, what is stopping nurses from reaching their full potential and how to address these obstacles.
Nursing Now recognizes that global change begins as people work together in each and every community. As nurses band together for change, the momentum will grow and impact greater people and reach into higher changes.
The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Nursing will host with United States launch event, and nurses will be able to check the main website throughout the day to learn about other events worldwide.
On February 27, check out Nursing Now and envision and even stronger and more influential nursing future.
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