1. Baker, Kathy A PhD, APRN, ACNS-BC, FCNS, FAAN

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2020 has been designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, coinciding with the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, often referred to as the mother of modern nursing. Considering the current pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the focus on nursing and midwifery will certainly be timely in highlighting the contributions of nurses and midwives to public health and care worldwide.

Kathy A. Baker, PhD,... - Click to enlarge in new windowKathy A. Baker, PhD, APRN, ACNS-BC, FCNS, FAAN

In 2015, the United Nations Member States identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the 2030 United Nations Agenda, calling all countries to collaboratively partner in working to improve quality of life for all world citizens, including protection of the global environment ( In concert with the SDG efforts, one of the key priorities for the WHO campaign is to "advocate for increased investments in the nursing and midwifery workforce" ( Specific emphasis is to encourage countries to:


* Invest in more nurse-led and midwife-led services, enabling nurses and midwives to work to their full potential


* Employ more specialist nurses


* Make midwives and nurses central to primary health care, providing services and supervising community health workers


* Support nurses and midwives in health promotion and disease prevention


* Invest in nursing and midwifery leadership



The point of this focused effort is to assure that every world citizen has access to healthcare. And in doing so, economic growth is encouraged, gender equality is promoted, and, most importantly, quality of life for the world's citizens is enhanced (


As participants in the global nursing community, Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA) members can actively advocate for public awareness of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020. Campaign materials are readily available at the WHO website ( that you can use as posters in your practice or community setting and for social media distribution. The WHO website ( provides an exceptional reflection of stories from nurses and midwives across the world, demonstrating the leadership, skill, and advocacy nurses bring to patients and communities around the world.


Consider working with your employer to add some of the WHO stories to your television/cable networks for patients and families to view, particularly during May which the American Nurses Association (ANA) has designated as Nurses Month. Begin your regional SGNA meeting or department meeting with one of the ANA Year of the Nurse videos ( to remind each other of who we are and the importance and value of what we do. If you have not already done so, join the ANA Nightingale Challenge, part of the global Nursing Now campaign highlighted in a previous editorial (Baker, 2018). And be sure to watch for the launch of The State of the World's Nursing Report, which will be released on April 7, 2020, World Health Day.


Nurses and associates, as critical members of the nursing team, are too often silent about the irreplaceable work and contributions we make, day in and out, to public health and care. Use the 2020 International Year of the Nurse and Midwife as a platform to advocate for support and investment in this critical workforce who promotes health and quality of life for all. Thank you, colleagues, for all that you do. Here's to celebrating each of you!




Baker K. A. (2018). Support for global nursing: Nursing Now. Gastroenterology Nursing, 41(3), 187-188. [Context Link]