Global campaign aims to elevate nursing’s place in healthcare

A three-year campaign, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and International Council of Nurses, is beginning to make an impact in America. The goal of Nursing Now is to improve health globally by raising the profile and status of nurses worldwide. It will launch in the United States in April. Participate in this forum.

U.S. nurse practitioners might not yet have gotten wind of a global effort to elevate nursing and bring awareness to nursing’s crucial role in health called Nursing Now. But the three-year campaign, done in collaboration with the World Health Organization and International Council of Nurses, is beginning to make an impact in America.

Angela L. Borger, D.N.P., F.N.P., D.N.C., editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association, wrote an editorial inviting dermatology nurses and nurse practitioners to become acquainted with Nursing Now in the journal’s November/December 2018 edition.

“This program is important for nurses because one of the main goals of this campaign is to ‘improve health globally by raising the profile and status of nurses worldwide-influencing policymakers and supporting nurses themselves to lead, learn and build a global movement,’” Ms. Borger wrote.

Nursing Now is a forum for nurses of all educational levels to share their ideas and triumphs, according to Ms. Borger.

“Even if you’re doing something on a small-scale locally, if you’ve got a program that is working and is affecting patient outcomes, [Nursing Now wants] to know what you’re doing,” Ms. Borger tells Dermatology Times. 
Nurse practitioners are key to the global effort, says Nursing Now’s Executive Director Barbara Stilwell, Ph.D., M.S., B.Soc.Sc., R.N., R.H.V., F.R.C.N.

“One issue that crops up frequently for countries wishing to optimize nursing practice is advanced nursing practice. This is because the legislation and policy frameworks that are necessary for advanced nursing practice to be successful are those that nurses everywhere should be advocating to be strengthened so that all nurses work to the top of their license,” according to Ms. Stilwell.

Ms. Stilwell, a family nurse practitioner, says China, Mexico and some of the countries in East and Southern Africa are considering introducing nurse practitioners and advanced nursing practice into their health systems, a move driven by rising healthcare costs and changing healthcare demands.

“The move to [advanced nursing practice] shows the great potential that nursing has to meet health needs today and exemplifies how difficult it can be for nurses to take up the [advanced nursing practice] challenge because of embedded prejudices and resistance to change of roles and responsibilities,” Ms. Stilwell says. “NPs in the U.S. have a history and a wealth of experience that other countries can learn from. Nursing Now is all about sharing our common history and knowledge so that nursing advances globally.”

Nursing Now has 157 groups in 75 countries and continues to grow, according to Ms. Stilwell.

Nursing Now plans a U.S. launch in early April, according to Stilwell. Some in the U.S. are already announcing their involvement. For example, as part of the Nursing Now 2020 initiative, Washington State’s Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed that Feb. 18 to 22, 2019, was Nursing Now Week in Washington, according to a Tweet by the University of Washington School of Nursing.

“As part of the global @NursingNow2020 initiative, @UWSoN will work on raising the profile and status of nurses. More exciting news on the way!” according to the Tweet.

But time is ticking. The campaign officially ends in 2020.

“Our campaign is deliberately short-lived and aims to alert policymakers to the important role that nurses have - and the potential role that in many countries they could have - to improve the health of families, individuals and communities,” Ms. Stilwell says. “Nurses are often overlooked and in many places in the world lack status and respect. We want the world to take a new look at nursing - the professionalism, care and expert knowledge that goes into nursing as a profession.”

For the first time, the World Health Organization will produce the State of the World's Nursing report in 2020.
“This will set a global agenda for the next 10 years for nursing,” Ms. Stilwell says. “So our campaign will end, but we hope that our legacy will live on.”

For now, Ms. Stilwell says nurses in the United States should watch February 27 for a challenge for employers to support their young nurses to become effective influential leaders. Nurses also can join the campaign via the website or set up a local group to share their experiences.

“Check out our web page for case studies. We would welcome one that highlighted the roles of nurses in dermatology practice,” Ms. Stilwell says.