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Nursing officer binds society with the bond of care and affection

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International Nurses Day - 12 May

Governments must invest in nursing education, jobs, and leadership.

Dr. Priyanka ‘Saurabh’

International Nurses Day is observed annually on 12 May. May 12 was chosen to celebrate the day because it is the birth anniversary of philosopher Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Nursing binds human society with the bond of care and affection. Nursing is the calling of care, which provides a pool of poignant stories and challenges. The scope of nursing has now expanded beyond just the hospital. Nurses deal with the most precious thing in this wide world- ‘human life’. The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2022 as the Year to Lead – Invest in Nursing and Respect the Right to Secure Global Health.

Nurses make up more than half of all health workers in the world. It will encourage the entire nursing community and the public to celebrate the day as well as provide the necessary information and resources to raise the profile of the nursing profession. Nurses are at the forefront of fighting epidemics and pandemics providing high quality and respectful treatment and care. The Covid-19 pandemic is a reminder of the vital role nurses play. Without nurses and other health workers, it is not possible to win the fight against outbreaks and achieve Sustainable Development Goals or universal health coverage (UHC).

Globally, there are approximately 36.9 nurses per 10,000 people, with further variations within different regions. There are almost 10 times more nurses in the Americas than in the African region. While the former has 83.4 nurses per 10,000 population, the latter has 8.7 nurses per 10,000 population. By 2030, there will be a shortage of over 5.7 million nurses worldwide. The biggest shortfall in absolute numbers is in the South-East Asian region, while in the US and Europe, the problem is different as they face an aging nursing workforce. Furthermore, many high-income countries in Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the American regions rely “exclusively” on migrant nurses.

There is a need for recognition of their work; The report highlights that the work of nurses is critical in meeting national and global goals related to universal health care, mental health, non-communicable diseases, emergency preparedness, and response. Nurses play an important role in the field of healthcare. Their role, especially during the current health crisis, is paramount. Overall, nurses are vital in ensuring the quality of care delivered to a patient, preventing and controlling infection, and combating antimicrobial resistance.

As of 2018, there were over 1.56 million nurses and 772,575 nursing aides in India. Of this, professional nurses account for 67 percent, with 322,827 graduates each year and a minimum training period of four years. Within the health workforce, nurses comprise 47 percent of medical workers, followed by doctors (23.3 percent), dentists (5.5 percent), and pharmacists (24.1 percent). In addition, the overwhelming majority of nurses in India, 88 percent, are women. This is in line with the composition of nursing seen globally, where 90 percent are women.

Providing occupational safety and health of nurses and all healthcare workers, including access to personal protective equipment so they can safely provide care and reduce infection in healthcare settings. Nurses and all healthcare workers should have access to mental health support, timely pay, sick leave, and insurance. They must be provided with access to the knowledge and guidance needed to respond to all health needs, including outbreaks. Nurses should be given financial support and other resources to respond to future outbreaks.

In almost all healthcare services, nurses perform roles that are not their specialty, so they have minimal time left to perform their actual roles and responsibilities. They are spending more time than necessary performing non-nursing-related tasks, for example, billing, record keeping, inventory, laundry, diet, physiotherapy, patient abstinence, etc., thereby reducing time spent on patient care Happening. If in any case, there is a lapse in these roles, the nurses have to bear the brunt in the form of cancellation of leave, pay cut, etc. There has been little effort in the health sector to plug it.

Governments must invest in nursing education, jobs, and leadership. Some of these measures include remunerating nurses according to prevailing local, national, and international labor market conditions. Patients and the public deserve the highest performance from healthcare professionals and this can only be achieved in a workplace that enables and maintains a motivated and well-prepared workforce. Nurses can be empowered, and encouraged by meeting their needs and meeting their challenges.

The writer is Research Scholar in Political Science, Poetess, Independent journalist and columnist

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