Queen’s Nurse and nurse lecturer at The University of Bradford, Catherine Kelsey shares her views on Global Nursing for The QNI blog.


It is no secret that nursing faces multiple challenges on a global scale.

These include:

  • An ageing nursing workforce
  • An ageing population
  • Increasing co-morbidities
  • Migration
  • Professionalism
  • Climate change
  • Disaster management
  • Fiscal management
  • Political upset
  • Leadership
  • Policy
  • Education

Today nurses working and living within the UK no longer have the luxury of focusing simply on the needs of the UK population; for nursing is developing into a global entity.

Many nurses realise that public health and the well-being of the population has no boundaries; the key challenges being to ensure through effective policies, education and resources that we can achieve health equity for all.

This is no more evident than in the light of the ‘Nursing Now!’ campaign with its emphasis on the empowerment of women globally, universal healthcare and the development of local economies. Being launched at the end of 2017 or early 2018 this campaign has been developed to help raise the profile of global nursing, making it central to healthcare and government policy and ensuring that nurses have the opportunity to use their skills, education and training to their full capacity. This is the first stepping stone on recognising the significant contribution that all nurses make in ensuring social reform.

This campaign is based on the report The Triple Impact of Nursing (2016) published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health (APPG) following its review of nursing globally. This report, recognises the key roles of nurses and their commitment to providing person-centred humanitarian care, that makes nursing central to care delivery.

Developing nursing, it is argued, will have the triple impact of contributing to three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; improving health, promoting gender equality, and strengthening economies.

Whilst this could be considered a given, nurses have collective apprehensions regarding staffing, inadequate facilities and resources, insufficient education and training opportunities and the lack of effective support. All of which can impact negatively on the ability of nurses to provide safe and effective care. Disappointingly, many feel that that they are also unable to practice within their full capacity, and that the opportunities to develop within leadership and influence global policy are scarce. This challenging situation is one that as healthcare professionals we must seek to change.

The impact of this report has been significant and there is now a plan to launch a global campaign to raise the profile of nursing globally and to strengthen and develop the nursing profession as a whole, with support being provided by organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the International Council of Nurses and the World Bank, as well as UK government.

It can often be very difficult to determine how we can make a significant contribution to the global community. As nurses, however, we don’t have to step out further than our own local communities in order to make a difference globally. Being aware of the impact of global policy on healthcare is probably a good start. There really is no point in burying our heads in the sand, otherwise we will simply be recipients of change, without ever having had the opportunity to understand, never mind challenge, healthcare reforms.

Begin to recognise the impact of social injustice, of poverty and how this can reduce life expectancy as well as impact negatively on quality of life.

Work with your colleagues on research and service development opportunities. If you have ideas, share them and don’t be put off when hitting the first hurdle.

If you aren’t already, become a mentor for pre and post registration nurses. Ask for a mentor yourself. Join special interests groups, explore the role of women in nursing and seek to understand how you can become leaders and the movers and shakers of the future. Contribute to newsletters and blogs – such as the QNI – and cultivate your abilities to develop conference abstracts and present at conferences. Let’s get the messages out there!

Every day should be a celebrating nursing day and every day all nurses should believe that they have made a difference and contributed to the global nursing agenda. To do this, nurses need to continue to lead on professional practice, challenge policies and seek to improve the health of the population, which without a doubt is now a global population.

Let’s celebrate our nursing practice and the contribution we make to a global society.

Reference: WHO: http://www.who.int/hrh/com-heeg/triple-impact-appg/en/ 

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