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Department: EDITORIAL

Ring in the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”

Laskowski-Jones, Linda MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, NEA-BC, FAWM, FAAN

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doi: 10.1097/01.NURSE.0000615100.78092.68
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Happy 2020! It is a particularly special year for nurses around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth and to recognize the essential role nurses play in global health.1 History shows that Florence Nightingale was a woman of ideals, research, action, and accomplishment. The breadth and depth of initiatives associated with the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” are well aligned with Nightingale's legacy and would most certainly make her proud.

As part of an international effort to depict the current state of nursing and improve the profession's overall profile, the WHO will release the inaugural State of the World's Nursing report in 2020 to provide a country-by-country account of the nursing workforce.1 In a related endeavor, the international Nursing Now campaign is underway with support from the WHO, the International Council of Nurses, and the Burdett Trust for Nursing.2 The Nursing Now campaign is slated to run through 2020 with the intent to disseminate the State of the World's Nursing report as a leverage point to “improve health globally” and advance the status of nursing through policy dialogue.1 In addition, the American Nurses Association, a key stakeholder in Nursing Now USA, announced that the 2020 National Nurses Week will extend through the month of May “to elevate and celebrate nursing.”3

These initiatives are intended to showcase the significant impact that nurses make on a global scale and demonstrate the ongoing need for a sustainable nursing workforce. Nurses provide much of the world's healthcare: More than half of the global healthcare workforce are nurses.1 Regrettably, nurses do not always receive appropriate recognition for their efforts or have a seat at the policy-making table. We need to collectively change this situation.

Florence Nightingale knew the value of data in making an effective case for change. The State of the World's Nursing report can serve as a catalyst for innovation and transformation. Now is the time to consider our nursing practice in the context of the broader international nursing community as a means to discover innovative solutions and new ways to support each other's efforts.

Until next time,




1. World Health Organization. Executive Board designates 2020 as “Year of the Nurse and Midwife.” News release. January 30, 2019.
2. World Health Organization. Nursing Now Campaign.
3. ANA Enterprise. ANA Enterprise gears up for global “Year of the Nurse” in 2020. News release. November 7, 2019.
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