Raising the profile of nursing to improve health and healthcare here and globally
BY NOW I’m sure many in the nursing community know that for the 17th year in a row the public ranked nursing as the most trusted profession in an annual Gallup poll. That acknowledgment is absolutely gratifying. However, although we’ve made great strides in our practice and as healthcare influencers, we—and our peers around the globe—must continue to work to raise the profile and status of the nursing profession to ensure better care and healthier populations. Fortunately, we have a new collaborative initiative to help us achieve those goals, beyond our ongoing programs at the American Nurses Association (ANA).
In April, I had the opportunity to help launch Nursing Now USA, a campaign under the strategic direction of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, the University of Washington School of Nursing, ANA, and the U.S. Public Health Service Chief Nurse Officer. Nursing Now USA is part of the global Nursing Now campaign that includes more than 190 groups and over 90 countries (and counting).
As my U.S. and international colleagues said at the Washington, DC, launch event, this campaign isn’t only about creating greater awareness of nurses’ many roles, our impact, and why the nursing workforce is a worthwhile investment; it’s also a social movement. If nurses are supported in our everyday practice, our professional and innovative pursuits, and our efforts to make and shape policy, we can make substantial headway in reducing healthcare disparities, eliminating gender inequity, and gaining healthcare for all. Although that sounds ambitious, remember, we’re nurses!
We can raise our profile and contribute to the success of the Nursing Now USA campaign by sharing our expertise and perspectives in an intentional way. I’ve always been a vocal proponent of the nursing profession and take every opportunity to talk with neighbors, other healthcare stakeholders, and public officials about the many ways that nurses’ knowledge and care benefit patients and the public.
We have so much to highlight: exemplary nurse researchers who’ve taken on everything from women’s heart health to the effects of RN staffing on patient care; nurses whose innovations are helping pediatric patients sleep undisturbed and older adults age in place; and countless nurses who advocate for effective health policies, and who provide quality, safe care at bedsides and clinics across America.
This campaign comes at a critical time, given ongoing debates over healthcare reform and access, coupled with the unending changes and complexities that are part of providing care and advocating for population health. We are central to ensuring positive change. Nursing Now USA also will address key issues in the nursing profession, such as workplace violence, pay equity, staffing shortages, and barriers to practice.
How can you help Nursing Now USA succeed?
• Sign up for more information at nursingnow.org/jointhecampaign.
• Attend upcoming events.
• Share information on social media via #NursingNowUSA.
• Consider making a donation to support this critical work at give.unc.edu/donate?p=sonu (use code 422644 for the Nursing Now USA Support Fund).
I also want to highlight two efforts of the global Nursing Now campaign, which is being co-led by the World Health Organization. One is this month’s planned kickoff of the Nightingale Challenge, aimed in part at recruiting and developing 20,000 young nurse and midwife leaders worldwide who can bring their new “disruptive” perspectives to policy tables and work settings. The other is the dedication of 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife to recognize and celebrate all that nurses and midwives do to improve health and healthcare.
Whether we practice here or abroad, we must ensure that all nurses are fully supported in our jobs and respected for what we bring to every setting, every role, and every table. If we succeed, the world will be a healthier place.
Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN
President, American Nurses Association