In AKTIOS Medical Rehabilitation Center, we use May 12th to acknowledge and celebrate the valuable and innovative work that our nurses do, not just today, but every day throughout the year.
Ιnternational Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12th, the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. However, countries around the world celebrate this occasion in their own ways. For example, in the UK, there is a service held each year in Westminster Abbey in London where a symbolic lamp is passed between nurses until it reaches the Nurses’ Chapel in the Abbey where it is then placed on the High Altar. This symbolizes the passing of knowledge from one nurse to another.
Every day, nurses across the world overcome incredible challenges to care for their patients and communities. These challenges have been heightened during the past two years by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several recent critically important reports address the issues facing the nursing profession, such as the global
nursing shortage, the ageing nursing workforce, the mass traumatisation of nurses, the lack of protection, the increasing workloads, and low salaries, all of which have led to many calls for investment in the nursing workforce in order to meet healthcare needs now and in the future.
In 2021, WHO issued its Global strategic directions for nursing and midwifery (SDNM) 2021-2025 which presents evidence-based practices and an interrelated set of policy priorities that can help countries to ensure that midwives and nurses optimally contribute to achieving universal health coverage and other population health goals.
Today, we have time to pause and briefly reflect on the incredible contribution that nurses and nursing have made throughout the pandemic, our care for those with COVID-19, as well as those with other conditions and those who are working in situations of conflict. Nurses have been working together to deliver care under the most extreme and challenging circumstances, setting up new pathways in response to changing demands or maintaining staffing and equipment levels to deliver ongoing and essential services. Every single one of us has adapted to work differently to keep ourselves, our colleagues, and our patients safe and yet crucially still offer accessible, person-centered, and holistic care.
The pandemic has shone a bright light on nursing and the vital role of nurses. Being recognized, appreciated, and valued has felt incredibly important for nurses around the world. But hardship and extreme working conditions have been detrimental to workforce wellbeing and in the afterglow, there is a great opportunity to ensure the rights of nurses can be better protected in the future.