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To achieve more recognition, investment and influence for nurses

By CN Content posted 04-06-2018 00:00

The Nursing Now campaign aims to support nurses in every country and in every region

Apr 06, 2018, By: Rose Simpson
The Duchess of Cambridge giving a speech at the Nursing Now campaign with World Health Organization
© Ian Jones Photography 2018
The Duchess of Cambridge is lending her support to the campaign as its patron.

Around the world, nurses gathered in classrooms and hospitals on Feb. 27 for the launch of Nursing Now, a three-year global campaign to raise the status and profile of nursing, improve world health outcomes and enable nurses to maximize their contribution to achieving universal health coverage. The campaign, a program of the Burdett Trust for Nursing, is being organized in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organization.

Launch events in London and Geneva, featuring campaign co-chairs Lord Nigel Crisp and Professor Sheila Tlou and other leaders from the global health community, were livestreamed on social media. In London, the Duchess of Cambridge, the campaign’s patron, saluted nurses and the work they do in her remarks to attendees. Satellite events were held in dozens of countries, including Jamaica, Jordan and South Africa. CNA, the global voice for Canadian nursing as a member of ICN, hosted a breakfast in Ottawa for invited guests.

Nurses and midwives make up half the professional health-care workforce globally, Crisp told the gathering in London. “That’s 20 million people, and we simply cannot achieve universal health coverage without them. They reach everywhere.”

Nursing Now has its roots in a 2016 report produced by the U.K.’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health, which concluded that strengthening nursing globally (by increasing the number of nurses, ensuring that their contribution is well understood and enabling them to work to full scope) would have a triple impact on global health: improved health outcomes, greater gender equality and stronger economies.

The campaign has identified five goals it hopes to achieve by 2020, through its work with individual influencers and its partnerships with government organizations and NGOs:

  • greater investment in nursing education, professional development, standards, regulation and employment
  • more robust dissemination of effective and innovative practice in nursing
  • greater influence for nurses and midwives on global and national health policy decision-making
  • more nurses in leadership positions and more opportunities for development at all levels
  • more evidence for policy- and decision-makers about where nursing can have the greatest impact, what is stopping nurses from reaching their full potential and how to address these obstacles

In working toward this last goal, Nursing Now will determine gaps in research and initiate studies, work with partners to improve and disseminate evidence, promote the role of research in enhancing nursing’s impact and generate global collaboration among researchers who are looking at nursing.

The campaign runs to the end of 2020, the year in which the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale will be celebrated. To learn more, visit

Values and principles of the campaign

  • Everybody has the right to health and health care.
  • Everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn.
  • A Health in All Policies approach — considering the health implications of decisions made across sectors — is vital.
  • Health improvement relies on people working well together.
  • The campaign’s success depends on what happens locally.
Headshot of Alia Walji
Alia Walji

Sarah Walji, 22, is one of two campaign board members who are representing young nurses and the only Canadian on the board. The Mississauga, Ont., native, works on an inpatient adult mental health unit at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. A former marketing director for the Global Association of Student and Novice Nurses and member of the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association global health committee, Walji is completing a master’s degree in global health at McMaster University.

“For the launch, I reached out through my networks to help create a presence online and in person for students and young nurses at events around the world,” she says. As an invited panellist at a launch event in Chapel Hill, N.C., co-hosted by IntraHealth International and the University of North Carolina, Walji led discussions on generating ideas for supporting young nurses in becoming global health leaders.

“I see Nursing Now as creating an empowerment movement,” she says. “ I would love to see many more nurses, especially some of my young colleagues, at the forefront of global health leadership.”

Rose Simpson is a freelance journalist in Ottawa.