1. Hill, Karen S. DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN

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The Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 as the "Year of the Nurse and Midwife." In doing this, the Board is honoring the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale as well as launching in 2020 the 1st ever "State of the World's Nursing" report as well as a "State of the World's Midwifery" report. The reports will describe nursing and midwife workforces in global member states and hopefully lead to policy dialogue as well as raise awareness of the profile and potential for nurses to elevate health status across the world.

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Some interesting facts to consider:


* Nurses and midwives account for nearly 50% of the global healthcare workforce.


* There is a global shortage of healthcare workers. WHO estimates that we will need an additional 9 million nurses by 2030.


* Nurses play a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention, and primary care. Nurses will be key to universal health coverage.


* It has been estimated that investments in nurses and midwives can produce a triple return for every dollar in improved health outcomes.


* Seventy percent of the global nursing workforce are women.1



Recommendations thus far include strengthening the investment in nurses and nursing education, including nurses in policy development, and maximizing the partnerships with nurses through professional collaboration.


Ongoing Challenges

As I travel across the United States and abroad discussing opportunities nurses have to publish their work and disseminate findings, themes become obvious. These include the recognition of the value of nursing among nurses. We inherently know the difference nurses can make, but we do not do a good job translating or presenting the case to others. In this regard, I would challenge each of us to take the time to identify the value, return, and outcomes that we contribute and make those known to the influencers. Nurses are busy and often juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. It takes time to organize and disseminate outcomes. We are often more focused on accomplishing tasks and goals than on monitoring and reflecting the differences we are making. Nurses often feel insecure about their ability to analyze and present data. We must have a shift in perspective to a greater emphasis on outcomes, both clinical and financial. This will be more imperative in the resource-challenged environment of the future. As hospital nurse leaders, we have traditionally focused on monitoring and reporting nursing-sensitive outcomes; however, we usually stay within the constraints of tradition. I would challenge us as we look at our broader impact in identifying and reporting the cost of care and levels of wellness across the continuum that are impacted by nurses and not just those from the acute care setting.


I continue to suggest to my advanced practice colleagues that they take time to identify both financial and clinical outcomes of their work. As more roles become available in primary care and beyond, we need outcome data to support expansion of practice and resources. As nurse executives, we need the data to advocate for these roles and practices within health systems and in our communities.


The American Academy of Nursing is focused on advocating for nursing influence in multiple venues including health policy.2 Nurses need workforce data from reports such as those generated by WHO as well as outcomes research to build and support robust policy platforms.


Through the support of efforts including the "Nurses on Boards" Coalition,3 nurses can enhance their visibility as leaders and continue to influence policy. The data from nurse-led research can be leveraged at the Board level to support the goal of improved population wellness.


I applaud the WHO for advocating and declaring 2020 as the "Year of the Nurse and midwife." This is not an initiative that will be accomplished in a single year, but rather the beginning of a new perspective on our impact and value that must be carried on. We also need to take this time to celebrate where we have been and how far nursing has come as a profession. I would suggest that we should continue the momentum and capitalize on the desire of people across the world to be healthier and safe and nurture the trust that they have bestowed in our profession, as we promote the value of nursing in 2020 and beyond.




1. World Health Organization. Nursing and midwifery. Key facts. Released February 23, 2018. Accessed October 13, 2019. [Context Link]


2. Adams JM, Glassman K, McCausland M, Pappas S, Manges K. A purposeful approach to articulate and enhance nursing influence across policy, research, education, practice, theory, media, and industry. J Nurs Adm. 2019;49(9):397-399. [Context Link]


3. Nurses on Boards Coalition. 2018. Accessed October 20, 2019. [Context Link]