Nursing & Healthcare News

International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

WHO calls for 9 million new nurses in next decade

2020 isn’t just the Year of the Nurse — the World Health Organization (WHO) has also declared this the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

Expanded Role

The World Health Organization is a big fan of nurses and midwives, and says the world needs more of them — a lot more. In fact, the target for WHO’s Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 initiative is 32.3 million nurses and midwives worldwide by decade’s end, about 9 million more than the current total.

In addition to encouraging member nations to add almost 900,000 more nurses and midwives each year for the next decade, WHO’s strategic goals include promoting substantial investments in nurse- and midwife-led health services, nurse leadership and nurse specialists as well as expanding the role of nurses and midwives in primary care, community health and health promotion.

Nursing Education

WHO also wants its member nations to take steps to protect nurses and midwives from workplace violence and ensure that they can practice to their full potential as respected members of the care team.

The organization says building a robust nursing and midwifery workforce “is one of the most important things we can do to achieve universal health coverage and improve health globally.”

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Inspiring Stories

As part of WHO’s yearlong celebration, the organization is currently preparing an important document: the State of the World’s Nursing Report. This report, which will be released on April 7, will provide a comprehensive look at the current global nursing workforce and nurses’ vital contributions to global healthcare.

In the meantime, you can find more information about WHO’s commitment to nursing, including inspiring stories of the achievements of nurses and midwives around the world, on the organization’s website, www.who.int.


Aaron Severson is a freelance writer, editor, and writing consultant as well as the associate editor of Working Nurse.


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