Celebrating International Nurses Day 2020


Published: 11 May 2020

Every year, International Nurses Day provides us with a precious moment to reflect on the nursing profession and the many contributions made by nurses here in Australia and around the globe.

As the central pillar of patient care - and almost every other aspect of healthcare - there is no denying nurses can make a difference, showing up time and time again when they’re needed most, individually and collectively. And in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this could not be truer than it is today.

The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

Near the end of 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that 2020 was to be recognized around the world as The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. With the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth being marked on May 12th, the celebration of The Year of the Nurse and Midwife gained even more meaning from the historical perspective of the nursing profession’s humble yet crucial beginnings compared to the illustrious place where nurses stand today.

The WHO states the following on the page of its website dedicated to The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife:

'Nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services. These are the people who devote their lives to caring for mothers and children; giving lifesaving immunisations and health advice; looking after older people and generally meeting everyday essential health needs. They are often, the first and only point of care in their communities. The world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.'

'That’s why the World Health Assembly has designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.'

(WHO 2020)

How powerful a testament to nurses that the WHO, the healthcare arm of the United Nations, chose to single out nurses for their ‘vital role in providing health services’.

They call on the world ‘to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives, highlight the challenging conditions they often face, and advocate for increased investments in the nursing and midwifery workforce’ That is a bold and welcome statement indeed.

nurse day carer

Nurses Standing Tall

On this International Nurses’ Day during the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, nurses have every reason to stand tall. They are intrinsic to direct patient care, nursing education, research, nurse entrepreneurship, medical product development, thought leadership, journalism, blogging, podcasting and so much more than can be contained in this brief article.

Nurses have their skilled hands and keen minds in so many areas, and their critical thinking, compassion, intuition and insight are immeasurable.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a case in point of nurses being heroically and uncomplainingly on the front lines of a battle in which their presence is absolutely crucial. In this context, nurses can indeed hold their heads high, feel proud of who they are and push forward into the future knowing that they are valued, valuable, important and desperately needed.

The world is learning the truth that nurses are indispensable, and International Nurses Day is a time to acknowledge that fact and celebrate nurses’ hard work on behalf of the billions of citizens of this besieged yet beautiful planet of ours.