2020 Year of the Nurse
The World Health Organization could not have chosen a timelier year to honor nurses around the world. In designating 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the W.H.O. calls for recognition of nurses around the world for their courage and lasting contributions to the health care industry.
“Nurses are under a spotlight this year in many ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored their irreplaceable work in a way we could have never anticipated. The entire world has seen firsthand the way these heroic individuals have responded to their community’s needs. They have stepped up in a big way this year and proven over again to be an essential part of our global health care system,” says MedPro’s CEO, Liz Tonkin.
Percentage of Nurses in the Health Care Workforce
Although doctors are typically more forward-facing representatives to the general public, nurses account for more than 50% of the global healthcare workforce. 21st-century nurses play a critical role in the future of improved global health. In many developing countries, nurses are at the forefront of caregiving and are often the only medical provider.
The Nursing Shortfall
Part of this year’s global recognition also sheds light on the threats connected to nursing shortages, expected by the W.H.O. to increase by nine million by 2030. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects millions of nurses will be needed in the next five years to avoid a further shortage.
Organizations are being called on to create empowering work environments to meet nurses’ needs, which can positively impact the quality of care throughout facilities in the U.S.
Who is W.H.O.?
The W.H.O. works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable. Their primary focus is to ensure more than a billion more individuals have universal health coverage, protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and well-being.
In addition to honoring nurses and midwives in 2020, the W.H.O. also released its first State of the World’s Nursing Report. The W.H.O. states the report will “provide the latest, most up-to-date evidence on and policy options for the global nursing workforce. It also presents a compelling case for considerable – yet feasible – investment in nursing education, jobs, and leadership.”
In early 2019, the W.H.O. first proposed recognizing nurses and midwives in 2020, not anticipating 2020 would be a landmark year in health care. Although their initial intent was to honor nurses and midwives on the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth year, this decision would later represent much more. We are honored to celebrate this incredible group of people and are committed to empowering global care by advocating for nurses worldwide.