Queen’s Nurse and Nurse Lecturer at The University of Bradford, Catherine Kelsey builds on her previous work published by the QNI on Global Nursing.


The nursing profession is once more in the limelight as International Nurses Day celebrates the unique contribution that nurses make to healthcare provision across the globe.

International Nurses Day has been celebrated by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) since 1965. In 1974, May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, became the day that nurses are recognised for their dedication to providing quality patient care, often in very challenging environments and situations.

Having been privileged to have attended the UK celebrations held at Westminster Abbey I can personally vouch for the sense of pride that is conveyed on the day. This pride however must extend across the whole of the healthcare workforce, not just nursing. Not just for one day, but every day.

Every year, the ICN announces a theme for International Nurses Day and this year is no exception. The theme ‘nurses a voice to lead – health as a human right’ captures the emphasis on nursing as a global workforce. The emphasis however is not simply on direct patient care but also the rights of nurses to work within a safe and secure environment with adequate resources, education and remuneration.

The ICN have published a toolkit ‘Health is a Human Right: Access, Investment and Economic Growth’

Annette Kennedy, ICN President commented that the toolkit:


“presents compelling evidence showing how investment in nursing leads to economic development; and how improving conditions in which people live leads to cohesive societies and productive economies”

The ICN has also produced Nurses’ Role in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. If you don’t know anything about the 17 Sustainable Goals; find out more about the work undertaken by the United Nations and how you can make a difference.


Nursing Now Campaign

The Nursing Now Campaign is a three-year global campaign being run in collaboration with the ICN and the World Health Organization. The campaign is a programme of the Burdett Trust for Nursing and is based on the findings of the Triple Impact Report.

Considerable inroads have been made in raising the profile of global nursing but the campaign still needs more nurses to pledge their support.  This year why not make International Nurses Day special for you. Find out about the unique contribution you can make in promoting Nursing Now and join the campaign to ensure that nursing receives the recognition and investment it deserves.

The Nursing Now campaign has signed up a number of policy makers and nurse leaders across the globe to be ‘Champions’ who through their actions have the ability to influence policy on both a national and global scale.  You too can become a voice to lead.


Become a Voice to Lead

Any contribution we make as nurses whether it’s through education, mentorship, research or developing patient-centred care can impact greatly on those we care for and those we work with.

Take the time to offer your support to a colleague who may need some help. Say thank you when they do a good job. Learn to recognise the unique contribution that social media can make, if used wisely, to challenge the structures that maintain health inequalities. Become a champion and stake your position as a global nurse.

In order to influence at all levels within a global society nurses must see themselves as leaders, and ultimately become a voice to lead.

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