It goes without saying that this Year of the Nurse and Midwife is not one that any of us could have imagined. The goal of increasing our visibility as a profession has certainly come to fruition, but not in the way that we anticipated. The observance has changed from one of celebration to one of gratitude, especially for those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, let’s look back at the past six months as it relates to nursing and healthcare…
This was the official kickoff for the Year of the Nurse and Midwife
! Designated by the World Health Organization and key partners, 2020 was to be the year that we celebrate nurses’ contributions to improve global health; acknowledging, appreciating, and addressing the challenging conditions we face; and advocating for increased investments in the nursing workforce.
In February, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was increasingly making headlines, and by February 28, there had been nearly 84,000 confirmed cases of the virus, now called COVID-19, worldwide. We didn’t know much about it other than that is was spreading quickly and easily.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. As we got deeper into the month, U.S. nurses and their colleagues in healthcare battled the virus head-on, despite shortages of personal protective equipment and limited testing. The innovation of nurses, along with other clinicians, became evident through designing and producing face masks
, moving IV pumps outside of patient rooms to conserve PPE
, and forming interdisciplinary proning teams
On World Health Day, April 7th
, the World Health Organization (WHO), International Council of Nurses, and Nursing Now released the State of the World’s Nursing 2020
report. This collaboration of over 170 countries serves to bring clarity on the state of the nursing profession today and the goals for the next ten years. The report recognizes the need for investments in nursing education, nursing jobs, and nursing leadership, and emphasizes the importance of a healthy workplace.
In the United States, National Nurses Week was extended to Nurses Month
, and the American Nurses Association focused on weekly themes of self-care, recognition, professional development, and community engagement. We also celebrated the 200th
anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday
In June, we witnessed ups and downs with COVID-19. Most of the US was starting to see cautious lifting of stay-at-home orders, while some states experienced increasing numbers of cases and deaths. While the public health crisis due to the pandemic continued, acts of racism shined the light on inequities faced by people of color. Years of anger and cries for social justice rang out this month after the death of George Floyd on May 25th
As we head into the second half of 2020, I wonder what lies ahead? We are in no way through the COVID-19 pandemic and the work of the Black Lives Matter movement continues to gain momentum. I encourage everyone to become and remain educated and get involved.