International Nurses Day Celebrates Those at the Heart of Healthcare

International Nurses Day is an opportunity to appreciate the commitment and achievement of the global nursing community. Celebrated around the world on 12 May, which is also the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, this day celebrates accomplishments of nurses and the future of nursing.

For over 25 years, the Department of Nursing at the University of Melbourne has taken a leading role in research and evidence, community engagement and delivering innovative and effective care to patients and their families. We support and celebrate the great work of nurses every day, not just on International Nurses Day.

The pandemic put the essential role of nurses in the spotlight more than ever before. Despite this, our essential front-line workers are still not receiving the support or recognition they deserve.

On announcing the theme for International Nurses Day 2022 “Investing in nursing and respecting nurses' rights to secure global health” The International Council of Nurses (ICN) responded with a battle cry. ICN President Dr Pamela Cipriano believes that current nurses “continue to be underpaid and undervalued,” stressing that “if governments continue to put off investing in the health workforce, it will be detrimental to health systems everywhere.”

Nurses play a significant role in our society on a global scale, and so it is only right for us to hear the global voice of nursing. The “We Are Global Nurses” campaign has released a video (see below) in acknowledgement of International Nurses Day in support of the ICN, demonstrating solidarity amongst nurses in light of the recent conflict in Ukraine. ICN has launched a #NursesforPeace campaign to encourage peace, and support frontline healthcare professionals. This campaign is in support of nurses in Ukraine and internationally who are working in areas of conflict.

WHO predicts that for all countries to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development goals, an additional nine million nurses and midwives will be needed by 2030. Their 2020 State of the World’s Nursing report calls for investments in nursing education, jobs, and leadership to address the shortage of nurses and enable universal health coverage.

At the University of Melbourne, we aim to support this agenda with an unwavering commitment to strengthening present and future nurses to address health concerns and collectively improve health outcomes. Our award winning Master of Nursing Science and Master of Advanced Nursing Practices aim to empower the future workforce and help prepare them to address current and emerging healthcare demands.

In our 26th year, we wish to extend our appreciation to our students, staff, healthcare partners, alumni, patients, and their families; their involvement plays a vital role in establishing our department at forefront of excellence through contributions in nurse-led research, community involvement, policy transformation, innovative technology development and advance our curriculum for introducing new nurses to the field.

Our Head of the Department of Nursing, Professor Marie Gerdtz, has taken a leading role in this. Featured in a podcast with The Wire, she discuss the need for better working conditions for nurses, demonstrating the leading role that The University of Melbourne plays in developing a program to reduce the nursing shortage made evident by the pandemic.

In today’s world, nurses have never been more in demand with the rise of a global pandemic. On the eve of International Nurses Day, we were delighted to have Professor Leanne Aitken deliver this years’ Marian Barrett lecture. Her lecture articulated the significance of consumer and community involvement in research, as well as its associated challenges. This features as part of our Nursing Event Series 2022, which focuses on “participatory approaches to health research”. You can access the recording here.