Last Sunday, May 12 marked International Nurses Day which was celebrated around the world representing the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.
Nursing staff in the Americas Region represent the largest health workforce, accounting for more than 50 per cent of health workers.
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in many parts of the world, nursing professionals are the first, and sometimes only, human resource in contact with patient’s and claims that investing in nursing enables advancing towards access and universal health coverage, which will have a profound effect on global health and well-being.
PAHO has launched the ‘Strategic Directions for Nursing in the Region of the Americas, calling on countries to invest in nurses to improve their availability, distribution and roles in order to advance towards universal health.
The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, said on Wednesday that a number of nurse’s work in the field of public health providing various services such as health promotion activities within the community; intervention where necessary to manage the spread of infectious diseases, and these services may also include advising/recommending to the community about medication adherence/compliance, thereby resulting in nurses playing an important role in the public health sector.
CPS encourages young people to seek a career in nursing that would benefit overall the health care system of Sint Maarten.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says nurses have many roles: they provide and manage personal care and treatment, work with families and communities, and play a central part in public health and controlling disease and infection.
“Nurses are often the first and sometimes the only health professional that people see and the quality of their initial assessment, care and treatment is vital.
“They are also part of their local community – sharing its culture, strengths and vulnerabilities – and can shape and deliver effective interventions to meet the needs of patients, families and communities,” WHO says.
Nurses and midwives account for nearly 50% of the global health workforce.
There is a global shortage of health workers, in particular nurses and midwives, who represent more than 50% of the current shortage in health workers.
The largest needs-based shortages of nurses and midwives are in South East Asia and Africa.
For all countries to reach Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health and well-being, WHO estimates that the world will need an additional nine million nurses and midwives by the year 2030.
Nurses play a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention and delivering primary and community care. They provide care in emergency settings and will be key to the achievement of universal health coverage.
Investing in nurses and midwives is good value for money. The report of the United Nations High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth concluded that investments in education and job creation in the health and social sectors result in a triple return of improved health outcomes, global health security, and inclusive economic growth.
Globally, 70% of the health and social workforce are women compared to 41% in all employment sectors. Nursing and midwifery occupations represent a significant share of the female workforce.