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International Nurses Day - May 12th 2015

Nurses worldwide will celebrate International Nurses Day on May 12th next  (the anniversar y of Florence Nightingale’s birth), which has the theme: ‘Nurses: A Force for Change – A vital resource for health’. The International  Council of Nurses (ICN), of which  the INMO  has  been  a member since 1925, commemorates this important day every year with the circulation of the International Nurses’ Day (IND) Kit. This year’s kit contains educational and public information materials, to be used by nurses around the globe. It includes a poster image that can be downloaded for use by individual nurses, associations, health ministries and health institutions.

The kit has already been disseminated to national nurses’ associations worldwide and can be accessed at on the ICN Website.  Though mainly planned around May 12th each year, IND activities continue for much of the year and the  ICN encourages nurses everywhere to make extended use of the kit throughout the year, through individual action and group activities.

Judith Shamian, president of the ICN, said: “ This IND kit is an essential tool to understanding  the bigger picture of the healthcare labour market: the gap bet ween  the  supply and demand of health workers, the effect of the financial crisis, migration and the working life span of nurses.“ According to the ICN, the kit “highlights the importance of workforce planning and the link to patient  safety; how to measure nurses’ workload and plan for  safe staffing. Changing scopes of practice and the influence of new technology have also changed the way nurses work.”

Properly trained, motivated health workers are essential for the health of the world’s population. Equal access to good quality health services cannot be achieved without an adequate number of appropriately prepared nurses. Because of this, ICN has chosen to focus on the vital resource that is the nursing workforce for this year’s IND theme.

Through the IND toolkit, the ICN hopes to inspire nurses to “change the picture” and demonstrate to governments, employers, and society that nurses are a vital resource for health. Nurses are the largest group of health professionals; they are the closest and of ten the only available  health  workers to the population, and have a great responsibility to improve the health of the population and contribute towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which relate to pregnant women and their newborns.

There are eight international development goals, which were established in 2000, to be achieved by 2015 following the adoption of the UN Millennium Declaration.

They are:

  • To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • To achieve universal primary education
  • To promote gender equality and empower women
  • To reduce child mortality rates
  • To improve maternal health
  • To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • To ensure environmental sustainability
  • To  develop  a  global  partnership  for development.

While there is a nursing shortage in many countries, including Ireland, simply adding more nurses is not the solution: improving the work environment is a key aspect of improving patient safety and the quality of health care.  It is essential  that nurses and wor ld leaders focus on the global nursing workforce as a key priority for achieving better health for all.

Further information from International Council of Nurses