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Our nurses, our future: International Nurses Day Ian Peate FRCN OBE, Editor in Chief, British Journal of Nursing
Celebrating Inter national Nurses Day on 12 May helps us to demonstrate the vital difference that nursing makes to people and their families locally, nationally and inter nationally. No matter the setting or who the patient is, all nursing staff have one thing in common: their staunch dedication to making a difference to the lives of people.We should all celebrate the extraordinary contr ibutions that nurses make and acknowledge the crucial role they play in the provision of high-quality, safe and effective health and social care at the bedside and in the board room. Nurses are the backbone of health and care systems around the world, they offer care and support to people often at the most challenging and most vulnerable per iod of their lives. It should not be forgotten, however, that nurses can also be facing challenging and vulnerable per iods of their lives as they provide this support.
Globally, health systems are stretched. Disjointed models of service delivery obsessed with curative care based in hospitals and a single disease approach; absence of engagement and empowerment of people and communities in car ing for their own health; scarce and misaligned funding – these all take their toll on nurses and patient-facing care providers who exper ience moral distress on a daily basis as they are unable to offer quality, people-centred care to patients.
For the provision of health care to be truly universal, relevant and responsive to the world as it continues to change, a cr itical change in direction is required.There has to be a move from health systems that are designed around single diseases and health institutions, towards systems that have been designed for people, with people. Reforms in health service delivery are crucial in addressing the 21st century health system challenges we are facing.Throughout history, nurses have never been so well placed to take up and respond to the call of people-centred care – a concept that has been and will continue to be at the heart of our being. If the transfor mation of health care is to become a reality this will require nursing and care staff to appreciate and understand the needs, values and preferences of people, to modify care and respond with meaningful, evidence-infor med approaches that can truly result in better health for all.
Nurses are already reaching out to more people as they provide them with health advice and quality care.They offer health education to patients and their families, instigate outreach programmes that provide services to those who are disadvantaged and marginalised, they support the transition of care as it occurs across var ious settings. Nurses develop cultures where safety and quality are paramount.They are making immense contr ibutions to the development of e-health technologies and they work across sectors as they advocate for health in all policies.
Building positive work environments is key and so too is the ability to recruit and retain the nursing workforce. Encouraging nurses to come into the profession and retaining them has to be high up on everybody’s agenda, otherwise we will have no workforce to deliver our aspirations.The shortage of nurses and other health and care staff across the UK and elsewhere is a problem that cannot be ignored. A report published by the Inter national Council of Nurses (2023) declares that the worldwide shortage of nurses should be seen as a global health emergency. It notes that health systems around the world can only begin to recover from the effects of the pandemic and be rebuilt when there is enough investment in a wellsupported global nursing workforce.
A contemporary people-centred health system must be dynamic, flexible, inclusive and participatory (so too must its nurses). It is the members of the nursing profession who have a cr itical role to play in sparking discussion that supports approaches that are responsive and inclusive in addressing the needs of nations. BJN International Council of Nurses. Recover to rebuild. March 2023.
https://tinyurl.com/yyrnfj4j (accessed 28 Apr il 2023)
British Journal of Nursing, 2023, Vol 32, No 9