Supporting nurses doing extraordinary things

In a far reaching Global Health talk with Michael Lesner, International Council of Nurses CEO Howard Catton, speaks about the changing image of nurses over recent years. He joined as CEO to debunk the myths.

The International Council of Nurses represents the 27 millions nurses across 130 national nursing associations right around the world.

Coming into the Year of the Nurse 2020, nursing was already facing a global 6 million shortage of nurses. COVID-19 highlighted the gaps in healthcare and created an increasing demand for bedside nurses. The pandemic broadcast the images from front line settings where nurses do their job, night after night to sway opinion on the role they play. However the moral and ethical decisions nurses continue to make to determine who gets a bed weigh on the heads of nurses during these difficult times.

As Howard states, ordinary nurses have been doing extraordinary things in the most challenging of circumstances. Nurse mental health and psychological welfare is of concern across 90% of ICN’s national nursing association members. It has been labelled as the “mass traumatisation of the nursing workforce”. There have been cases of nurse suicide, as well as abuse across multiple countries.

When discussing advanced practice nursing, in many care the funding models of care are insufficient to support nurse led practice, in a variety of setting. Fundamentally, funding is lacking in nursing education, nursing leadership and nursing jobs.

In early November the ICN Congress will be discussing the learning from COVID pandemic, especially vaccine inequality where 80% of vaccines have gone to the wealthiest countries, and just 2% in places such as the African continent. The conversations will include having nurses advice in the top level of political and policy decision making.

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