Global campaign to boost profile of nursing announced

A new global campaign to raise the profile of nursing across every continent has been announced at the International Council of Nurses 2017 congress in Barcelona.

An ambitious new global campaign to raise the profile of nursing across every continent has been announced at the International Council of Nurses (ICN) 2017 congress in Barcelona

Lord Crisp discussed the APPG report on the triple impact of nursing
Picture: International Council of Nurses

Britain is playing a key role in the provisionally entitled three-year Nursing Now! campaign with at least five members on its 13-strong steering group.

Objectives of the campaign, which will likely launch later this year, will include a landmark study on the economic impact of nursing and a 'very large-scale' flagship global senior leadership programme for nurses.

The UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health (APPG) chair Nigel Crisp said the project will build on last year’s APPG triple impact report highlighting the benefits of developing nursing.

Undervalued potential

‘Nurses were saying they are systematically undervalued and underutilised and weren’t able to work to their best or achieve their potential,’ he said, addressing congress on Sunday.

‘Or they were treated as handmaidens – what an extraordinary waste of resource for the whole health system.’

Lord Crisp, who was health minister and NHS chief executive under Tony Blair, said the campaign will improve the lives of women at work and strengthen local economies.

One area deemed critical is to provide enhanced leadership opportunities for nurses.

‘We need more nurses in policy,’ Lord Crisp said. ‘[Nursing] is not represented enough at a government level, which is barmy.’

Members of the campaign steering group include RCN general secretary Janet Davies, former England chief nurse Christine Beasley and ICN chief executive Frances Hughes.

Nurses from Jordan, Sierra Leone, India and North America are also part of the group, which will have a two-day meeting in July.

Learning from experiences

At a special event at congress on Sunday to discuss hopes for the campaign, Dr Hughes told nurses they wanted to learn and hear from others to avoid failure or duplication.

She said: 'We want to learn from campaigns that have failed, we have seen things come and go and that is not what we want.

'It has been a "softly, softly" approach to work our how we can get this to have the most impact without it being centrist or colonial – people often think one country knows best.

'We want to increase the profile of nursing and built capacity and capability.'

Crucially, the new World Health Organization (WHO) director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote to the group prior to his recent election to pledge his support for the campaign should he take up the post.

‘You will have my full support around your campaign to increase the visibility, training and support systems around nurses,’ he wrote, in a letter Lord Crisp shared with nurses.

‘I can also commit to having a senior level staff person representing the nursing community on my team at WHO.’

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