Each year 12 May is observed as the ‘International Nurses Day’ across the globe to commemorate the contributions that nurses make to societies. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has been celebrating this day since 1965 as it is also the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the foundational philosopher of modern nursing. Every year ICN produces and distributes International Nurses’ Day Kit which contains educational and public information materials, for use by health workers around the world with a different theme each year. This year’s theme by ICN is “Nurses: A voice to lead”.
Annette Kennedy, ICN president said, “In this Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the eyes of the world are on our profession in a way that we could not have anticipated. Nurses are in the spotlight, and all around the planet this tragic pandemic is revealing the irreplaceable work of nursing for all to see.”
Historically, as well as today, nurses are at the forefront of fighting epidemics and pandemics. Nursing is a selfless job they provide high quality and respectful treatment and care to the needy. They are usually the first and sometimes the only health professional that people see and the quality of their initial assessment, care, and treatment is essential. The Covid-19 pandemic is an absolute reminder of the vital role nurses play.
The World Health Organisation said on its website that the global health body has joined hundreds of partners across the world to highlight the importance of nurses in the healthcare sector. The WHO has designated the year as “The Year of the Nurse and Midwife” to celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. The WHO stresses that without nurses and other health workers, we will not win the battle against outbreaks, we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals or universal health coverage.
Therefore, governments must support and invest in their nurses. COVID19 reinforces the need for investment in nursing jobs, education, leadership.