1. Section Editor(s): Newland, Jamesetta A. PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, FAAN

Article Content

The theme for 2022 International Nurses Day on May 12 is Nurses: A Voice to Lead - Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health. The COVID-19 pandemic catapulted nurses to a heightened visibility as the foundation of every healthcare workforce. What healthcare system is able to function effectually without nurses? The World Health Organization (WHO) has traditionally been a strong advocate for recognizing the value and power of nurses in determining the health of individuals, families, and communities and thus collectively, of global populations. The International Council of Nurses makes a statement by placing the phrase "global health" in this year's theme. Why is this significant? One of the most important healthcare professionals you will find in every corner of the globe is a worker known as a nurse.


Defining global health

A 2009 Lancet article is often cited for defining global health.1 Koplan and colleagues compare the mutual components of public health, international health, and global health-geographic reach, level of cooperation, individuals or populations, access to health, and range of disciplines. The terms public, international, and global in relation to healthcare delivery are not interchangeable. The authors state, " health is an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. Global health emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants, and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration; and is a synthesis of population-based prevention with individual-level clinical care."1 Global health transcends borders and seeks health equity for all people. A measles outbreak in a community is an example of a public health issue; fighting malnutrition in low-resource countries is an international health issue; and the COVID-19 pandemic is a global health issue. Multiple disciplines have been working together to promote prevention, combat infection and transmission, and develop treatments. The world, as we know it, becomes smaller every day, and global health issues likewise will emerge more frequently.


Nursing competency

Disaster/emergency education and training and preparation to address global health are now part of many nursing curriculums. In the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, US nurses, as part of social justice in nursing and health policy, are responsible for demonstrating solidarity and a collective voice around the globe to address global health.2 NP students are further expected to master competencies in global issues within the broader health policy [advocacy] category. Global issues include infections, disasters, terrorism, travel, immigration, and access to healthcare.3 Providing experiences in global health for any level of student may present challenges, but creativity and openness will help faculty support students in meeting identified competencies.


Nursing empowerment

The recent crisis in Ukraine reminds the world that access to healthcare is not expendable during an emergency. The picture of hospital nurses in underground corridors in Kyiv attending to tiny neonates connected to oxygen apparatuses will forever be branded in my memory. Adversities reinforce the necessity for access to healthcare to maintain health and life. Whether the need is classified as a public, international, or global health issue, there is human suffering, and you will find nurses there.


Happy Nurses Week!


Jamesetta A. Newland, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, FAAN

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1. Koplan JP, Christopher Bond T, Merson MH, et al Towards a common definition of global health [Viewpoint]. Lancet. 2009;373(9679):1993-1995. [Context Link]


2. American Nurses Association. Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. American Nurses Association; 2015. [Context Link]


3. National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. NONPF Nurse Practitioner Competencies Content. National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties; 2017. [Context Link]