It's 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO)! Saying 2020 out loud reminds me of the clarity of 20/20 vision, underscoring the importance of this declaration—the most trusted and respected profession is being applauded. I hope you revel in that recognition all year long.
Some would say every year is the year of the nurse, so why 2020? For a start, it's the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth on May 12th, the traditional end of Nurses Week in the US. The tremendous impact she had on modern nursing is unquestionable and extraordinary. A scholarly approach to nursing in the 1800s was unheard of, yet Nightingale acted in that spirit, saving lives and paving the way to the world of evidence-based practice and professionalism we now take for granted.
The WHO believes that we must change the present state of half the world's people not receiving the health services they need. Strengthening nursing and midwifery contributes to the goal of universal, global health coverage. The WHO is leading the development of inaugural reports on the State of the World's Nursing and the State of the World's Midwifery, which will launch this year. The Nursing Now Campaign, a 3-year effort started in 2018 and ending this year, is supporting global health in alignment with the year of the nurse and midwife, with country-level work to highlight the impact of nurses. You can share stories of nurses making a difference in health outcomes, leadership, policy, advocacy, innovation, and transformation on the Nursing Now global platform or the Nursing Now USA webpage (www.nursingnow.org/USA). The American Nurses Association brand for the year of the nurse is “Lead. Innovate. Excel.” We're strong and we're powerful.
This special year isn't just about recognition. You can make a difference by joining the Nightingale Challenge, with the goal of providing growth for 20,000 nurses and midwives age 35 and younger through the commitment of 1,000 organizations worldwide. This can be through formal courses, mentoring, shadowing, and all types of learning, including other professional groups. Meeting legislators is another way to grow young nurse leaders' passion for advocacy.
I recently heard this quote from Margretta Madden Styles, EdD, RN, FAAN, who was a driving force behind the creation of the American Nurses Credentialing Center certification programs across the US and globally, lending her birthday to National Certification Day (March 19): “Imagine a world without persons who know what nurses know; who believe as nurses believe; who do what nurses do; who have the effect that nurses have upon the health of individuals, families, and nations; who enjoy the trust that nurses enjoy...imagine a world without nurses.” No, we can't imagine a world without nurses. We don't want a world without nurses. The WHO knows this and sees us as foundational for global health. Take up the challenge and use 2020 as a year to commit to growing and developing yourself, as well as young nurses, for leadership. We need them, and we need you, in 2020 and beyond.