This article was updated on May 6th, 2021.
Today is National Nurses Day, and it’s the perfect time to show gratitude to nurses across the nation for their vital role in caring for patients every day. Today is the kick-off day of National Nurses Week, which includes National School Nurse Day on May 8 and International Nurses Day on May 12.
With over 4 million active nurses in the United States, and more than 20 million nurses worldwide1, today gives us all the opportunity to show appreciation to these exceptional professionals. Along with social workers and many other courageous caregivers, they have helped us throughout the recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today is also a day to reflect on the toll that the pandemic has taken on nurses, who have tirelessly worked on the front lines ensuring that everybody gets the attention they need. As Dr. Courtney Howard mentioned during an interview with Eco18 in 2020, many health providers have experienced “moral distress, trauma, and burnout as this pandemic goes along.” She added, “We need to pro-actively reach out to providers and give them the support that they need, including ensuring that those who have trouble functioning are taken care of financially, and then do everything we can to avoid a tragedy like this in the future.”
But the pandemic has only underlined the need for more significant investment in improving education, professional development, and employment conditions for nurses. This is why a ground-breaking campaign called Nursing Now was established in 2018 to ensure health improvement globally by raising the status of nursing, influencing policymakers, and advocating for more nurses in leadership positions.
According to Nursing Now’s website, nine million more nurses and midwives will be needed by 2030. There’s plenty to be done to prepare for the challenges that many countries worldwide face ensuring quality health care. According to the organization, some of the issues that are putting health systems under strain include scarce resources, the rising burden of chronic diseases, and the impact of emerging factors, such as climate change, migration, and aging populations.
The Nursing Now campaign was developed in response to the findings of the Triple Impact report, which concluded that as well as improving health globally, empowering nurses would contribute to improved gender equality and stronger economies.
Nursing Now has a presence in 126 countries and over 700 active groups. Nursing Now USA is a collaboration established by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, and the US Public Health Service Chief Nurse Officer.
Do you know any nurses? Take time today to thank them for their service. Happy National Nurses Day!
1 National Council of State Boards of Nursing [NCSBN], 2020