On the occasion of the International Day of the Nurse and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, SIPTU Health Division joins with the World Health Organization (WHO) and hundreds of partners worldwide to highlight the importance of nurses in the healthcare continuum and thank nurses for what they do.
Historically, as well as today, nurses are at the forefront of fighting epidemics and pandemics – providing high quality and respectful treatment and care. They are often the first and sometimes the only health professional that people see and the quality of their initial assessment, care and treatment is vital.
Nurses account for more than half of all the world’s health workers, yet there is an urgent shortage of nurses and other health care workers worldwide.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the vital role nurses play. 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.
As we mark this, day, the WHO is urging countries to ensure:
- the occupational safety and health of nurses and all health workers, including notably, unhindered access to personal protective equipment so they can safely provide care and reduce infections in health care settings.
- nurses and all health care workers have access to mental health support, timely pay, sick leave and insurance; as well as access to the most up-to-date knowledge and guidance required to respond to all health needs, including outbreaks.
- nurses are given the financial support and other resources required to help respond to and control COVID-19 and future outbreaks
By developing their nursing workforces, countries can achieve the triple impact of improving health, promoting gender equality and supporting economic growth. Strengthening nursing will have the additional benefits of promoting gender equity (SDG5), contributing to economic development (SDG8) and supporting other Sustainable Development Goals.