marked the celebration of World Health Day. This year, the World Health Organization (WHO), in concert with the International Council of Nurses and Nursing Now, released the State of the World’s Nursing 2020
report. This report comes at a critical time, for not only is 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife
, but we are also experiencing the global COVID-19 pandemic
where we find nurses at the front and center of this fight. This report is a collaboration of over 170 countries for the purpose of bringing clarity on the state of the nursing profession today and where it will be headed through the next decade.
Nursing as a profession is extremely important in maintaining and protecting the health of the world’s population. According to the report, 59% of all healthcare professionals are nurses and the global workforce of nurses is currently around 28 million, of which 19.3 million are professional nurses, 6 million are associate professional nurses and the remainder not being classified (WHO, 2020). Although the global nursing shortage has declined from 6.6 million estimated in 2016 to around 6 million in 2018, the bottom line is that by 2030, there will be a need for 36 million nurses practicing across the globe to meet the needs of every individual on the planet.
The report recognizes the need for governments to invest in and address three areas in order to meet this growing need.
- Nursing education – Today an estimated $27.2 billion (USD) is spent on nursing education; however, this spend is not equitable across all countries. There needs to be a massive acceleration of nursing education in the areas of faculty, infrastructure, technology and student resources to address the changing models of care.
- Nursing jobs – At least 6 million new nursing jobs will need to be created by 2030, predominantly in areas where the shortage is projected to be worse, such as in low- and middle-income countries.
- Nursing leadership – An investment in nursing leadership is needed to ensure nurses have a seat at the table where health policy and practice decisions are made.
In addition, the report defines 10 sustainable development goals (SDG’s) for the foreseeable future. Highlights of these goals include funding for education and training, creation of 6 million additional jobs, insurance that nurses are practicing at the full scope of their practice and will continue to lead nurse-models of care to address social determinants of health and population health issues. The report also addresses the importance of a healthy workplace while improving the ability to collect vital information on the nursing workforce and the value nurses bring to healthcare.
Nursing: Our Value is Evident
One thing that has become inherently clear during the COVID-19 pandemic is the value of nurses in health care. Our contributions as care providers, patient advocates, researchers, and educators have never been more important than they are right now. The WHO’s State of the World’s Nursing 2020
provides a framework to build our profession to be strong, adaptable and innovative to meet the changing health needs of people and optimize their health.