Raising profile of nursing and midwifery is 'key for global health improvement', new report says

Recognising and championing nursing on a global scale is essential to improving health for all, a new report by Public Health Wales says.

The report identifies that nurses and midwives are at the heart of most health teams, playing a crucial role in improving and transforming health services.

The ‘Nursing Now’ global campaign originated from the triple impact report which argued that strengthening nursing would make a major contribution to three of the sustainable development goals – improved health, greater gender equity and economic development.

The campaign was launched in 2018 and endorsed by the World Health Organisation and International Council of Nurses and was a call to action at a local and global level promoting opportunities to raise the profile of nursing across a range themes.

It could not have been predicted that 2020 would bring the roles of nurses and midwives into the spotlight, with the significant demands placed on them and other health workers by the impact of coronavirus.

The campaign strongly encouraged local and national involvement set in the context of individual countries and settings.

In Wales the chief nursing officer at this time, Professor Jean White, asked Public Health Wales to establish a cross organisational Nursing Now group, to ensure that Wales played its part in the global efforts.

The steering group was set up in 2019 by Public Health Wales on request from the Welsh Government, with the aim of building resilience, compassion and leadership in Wales’ nursing and midwifery sectors and using this as an example to raise the industry’s profile on an international level.

Rhiannon Beaumont Wood, chair of Nursing Now/Cymru Wales and executive director quality, nursing & allied health professionals, Public Health Wales, said: “Countries around the world are facing huge challenges in ensuring quality healthcare.

"Coronavirus, scarce resources, the rising burden of chronic diseases, and the impact of issues such as climate change, migration and ageing populations are putting health systems under strain.

“Furthermore, the global shortage of health workers means there simply are not enough professionals trained to help tackle these threats, and this includes nurses – nine million more nurses and midwives are needed by 2030.”

The group developed and agreed five themes to guide the work of the Nursing Now campaign in Wales.

An example of how this has worked in practise is in increasing the number of learning disability specialist nurses in Wales.

Rhiannon added: “Not only do we need more nurses and midwives, we need to develop new and innovative types of services."

Nursing Now Wales/Cymru is made up of representation from the NHS Wales organisations, nurse leaders from Welsh Universities, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives and third sector representatives.

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