‘The Year of the Nurse is an important step in becoming a collective voice’

Finally, nurses around the World are uniting.

It’s official – WHO has determined that 2020 is the Year of the Nurse – it has just taken 200 years after Florence Nightingale was born and 100 years since Registration.

All nurses should be pushing employers, educationalists, politicians, and governments to take part in the celebrations. However, it is also important we use this platform as an opportunity to take positive action to promote nursing, get practical, visible action from the government for its recognition and, importantly, to reflect its value in pay, career progression and influencing opportunities.

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My burning questions is; why it has taken so long to get to the point where we have needed “The Year of the Nurse”?

Is it because it has been a predominantly female profession often seen as less important than other roles? Is it because the role hasn’t been valued as a professional one with nurses now taking a lead in services and development? It is because it is only recently that nurses are autonomous practitioners in their own right? Is it because nurses just get on with the job they do because nursing always puts patients first before self? Or has it been that nursing has just woken up to the fact that it has power in its voice, its education, its development, its sheer numbers and the trust of people around the world to do what is best for healthcare?

I strongly suspect the latter but also feel that finally nurses around the world are uniting – becoming a collective voice, united in their goals, united in greater self-belief and confidence. Something that only emphasises the value of being in a union or nursing association – a collective voice, impossible to ignore.

The Year of the Nurse has come about because of such collaboration and uniting our voices, that we are now better able to communicate across the globe their value, nursing’s value along with a demand to be recognised for their profession and their contribution.

The Year of the Nurse is to be celebrated across the globe, promoted by WHO. ICN, EFN, and many Nursing associations and Unions together – world-wide. Raising their profile, their voice and speaking out confidently to politicians and governments. It is an opportunity and we must grab it and use it positively for nursing and healthcare.

If we don’t it will be just a celebration party with tea, cake, warm words and little action and the world will move on to the next Year of the?

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A lost opportunity to raise the profile and gain rightful recognition or stand up and speak out powerfully across the globe – my view: We are nursing, We must, and We can.

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