The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) sends best wishes to all its members, and indeed nurses all over the world, on International Nurses Day which is celebrated today, May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.
The theme chosen by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) for this year is ‘Nurses: A Force for Change – Improving health systems’ resilience’ which reflects the ICN’s commitment for action to strengthen and improve health systems around the world. It leverages the contribution that nurses can make and acknowledges that nurses are closest to those requiring health services and therefore have a significant influence on reducing health costs and increasing quality of care.
The International Council of Nurses (ICN), of which the INMO has been a member since 1925, is a federation of more than 130 national nursing associations representing more than 16 million nurses worldwide.
According to the ICN’s President, Judith Shamian and Chief Executive Officer, Frances Hughes: “It is imperative that we identify in our organisations and in ourselves, opportunities to strengthen and develop resilience. By promoting the nursing voice, we can help guide improvements in the quality of health service delivery and inform health systems’ strengthening. Nurses’ input into health sector policies will help ensure that supportive work environments for practice are taken into account when policies are reformed.”
Providing quality health care services to all people in need is the ethical and professional responsibility of nurses. As committed, innovative and solution oriented professionals, nurses continue to provide care with resilience and versatility even with little or no resources or organisational support. However, improving health systems’ resilience requires inter-sectoral efforts by all actors at all levels. Nurses, who deliver the majority of health care services in collaboration with colleagues in both health and non-health sectors, have an important role in this process.
Another reason for nurses to be involved in health sector policy reform is the large impact that these policies tend to have on nurses’ work environments. Through involvement in decisions for health systems’ strengthening, nurses can promote positive practice environments which will in turn result in improved health systems’ resilience and health outcomes.
Nurses must play an integral role in leading change. With redesigned health systems and full participation in policy, nurses will be better equipped to provide quality care for all, even in times of difficulties.
INMO Deputy General Secretary, Dave Hughes, in saluting nurses at home and abroad, said:
“The theme for International Nurses Day underpins the simple, but vital, message that nurses play a central role in the provision of healthcare and have an important task in improving health system’s resilience. For this to happen, Governments must understand that a high quality health service cannot be achieved without an adequate number of appropriately educated, empowered and autonomous nurses. The nurse is, without doubt, the health professional closest to the population they serve and therefore must be centrally involved in making decisions for strengthening health services.”
Mr Hughes said: “At our Annual Delegate Conference last week, members called for a universal healthcare service, funded by progressive taxation, which is efficient, effective and which treats everyone equally, with access being determined by need and not ability to pay. In this regard, we look forward to meeting with the Minister for Health to discuss, along with other stakeholders, the development of a 10 year plan for the health service“.