Nurses are essential members of health teams, contributing to and leading initiatives to promote health, prevent and treat disease, and support patients and families in caregiving. Nurses are recognized globally for these contributions. Unfortunately, that recognition is not universally strong enough for the message to penetrate into important decision-making circles of education, service, and finance. In too many places, nurses lack needed voice and visibility. A new global initiative, Nursing Now, is working to correct this invisibility.
WHAT IS NURSING NOW?
Nursing Now is a 3-year global campaign in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organization. It is run by a board of nurses and nonnurses from 16 different countries and administered by the Burdett Trust for Nursing. The premise of the campaign is the belief that the health professionals closest to a community can be instrumental in developing new models of community-based care to promote health and prevent disease. The campaign was launched in 2015 in response to a global initiative by nations of the world to ensure that everyone in the world have access to healthcare and nobody is left behind. To achieve this ambitious goal of universal healthcare, professional nursing must be strengthened globally, not just in number of nurses, but by increasing an understanding of nurses’ contributions to health of individuals, families and communities. Nurses must be able to work to their full potential, but nurses alone cannot achieve this goal. Health leaders and politicians must be engaged to change existing limiting perceptions of nurses. Nursing Now is the global campaign to bring together the necessary influences for change.
WHY A CAMPAIGN?
We face huge challenges in delivering healthcare globally. Developed countries are managing ever-increasing aging populations coupled with expanding numbers persons with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney failure. The associated care concerns and financial implications are affecting quality of life for the individuals and their families, communities, and straining governments. In developing countries, infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria are draining existing resources. Climate change and migration patterns are adding additional challenges. Globally, there is shortage of healthcare workers. An estimated 9 million more nurses are needed by 2030. Nurses can fill the many gaps in healthcare, yet nurses’ contributions are undervalued, and as a workforce, nurses’ ability to impact these health challenges is limited by social and political forces. A campaign is needed to address the forces impeding nursing practice. Improving nurses’ education and working conditions will help achieve the Triple Impact of improving health, empowering women (as most nurses are still women), and strengthening local economies (http://www.who.int/hrh/com-heeg/digital-APPG_triple-impact.pdf).
WHAT IS THE TRIPLE IMPACT?
The Triple Impact is a roadmap document for developing nursing to achieve the aims of improving health, promoting gender equality, and supporting economic growth. Authored in the United Kingdom as an action plan for the United Kingdom, the report urges the UK government to work with the Commonwealth, Europe, the World Health Organization, and others to take a leading role in raising awareness of the potential of nursing for impacting global health and to make a political commitment to supporting the development of nursing globally. Briefly, here are the report’s recommendations, which are applicable to all countries.
- Raise the profile of nursing and make it central to health policy. Hold a high-level summit on nursing, invite political and health leaders outside nursing, and raise awareness of the opportunities and potential of nursing, create political commitment, and establish a process for supporting development.
- Support plans to increase the number of nurses being educated and employed globally.
Use as a guide Workforce 2030 (http://www.who.int/hrh/resources/globstrathrh-2030/en/), the World Health Organization’s global strategy on human resources for health that proposes a framework for developing country-specific investment plans to address workforce shortages.
- 3. Develop nurse leaders and nursing leadership. Nurse leaders in the right places at the right time are central to ensuring that the unique perspective of nursing is included in policy-making and decision making. Ensure that countries have appropriate nurse leaders throughout their structures and organizations.
- 4. Enable nurses to work to their full potential. Each country faces different challenges; however, across the globe, cultural, regulatory, and legislative enablers are needed and barriers need to be identified and removed.
- 5. Disseminate evidence of the impact of nursing on access, quality, and costs and ensure that the evidence directs practice and policy.
- 6. Develop nurses to have a triple impact on health, gender equality, and economies by empowering nurses economically and as community leaders, which will, in turn, strengthen local economies.
- 7. Promote partnership and mutual learning among nurses in different countries.
HOW CAN CLINICAL NURSE SPECIALISTS GET INVOLVED?
Learn about the Nursing Now campaign at www.nursingnow.org. Sign up for the newsletter. Spread the word. Look for opportunities to build partnerships for sharing knowledge and supporting nurses in other countries. Nursing has 2 large international organizations—International Council for Nurses (ICN) and Sigma Theta Tau International. Be involved with these organizations and link with nurses in other countries, learn about their needs, and look for opportunities to support the development of nurses globally. The International Council for Nurses has an international network of advance practice nurses—International Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Network— and membership is free. Sign up for the newsletter at https://international.aanp.org/.
Nursing Now is eager to partner with nurse leaders and work with partners around the world to advocate for more nurses in leadership positions—to help nurses achieve the influence they deserve. It is looking for opportunities to help nurses access better education and training and to share research and evidence of effective practice. The campaign is encouraging health leaders to invest in nursing and introduce new models of care that maximize nurses’ contributions to achieving the quality healthcare without financial hardship. Clinical nurse specialists can contribute to the campaign on many levels. Begin by learning more about this important work.