By Erica Techo
Nurses play an important role in health care, and a new campaign aims to increase their contribution to improve overall health outcomes.
Nursing Now, a three-year global campaign run in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses, aims to change perceptions, enhance influence and maximize contributions of nurses to ensure that everyone has access to essential health care.
“The rationale is to bring together different parties, organizations, institutions and influential individuals to support a new role for nurses in the global health agenda,” said Deputy Director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing’s Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/ WHO) Collaborating Center Ada Markaki, PhD. “The campaign aims to strengthen the role of nurses and midwives globally, specifically in the arena of primary health care and universal health coverage.”
Campaign goals include greater investment in nursing through education, professional development and regulation; increased and improved dissemination of effective and innovating practice in nursing; greater influence for nurses and midwives on global and national health policy; more nurses in leadership positions; and more evidence for policy and decision makers about where nursing can have a large impact.
Multiple UAB School of Nursing activities meet Nursing Now campaign priorities, including two projects centered on quality improvement in nursing, and education initiatives by the WHO Collaborating Center.
Three online modules will offer free, tailored resources on quality improvement in nursing and midwifery educational program outcomes to faculty throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. A quality improvement toolkit will also focus on primary health care and universal health educational outcomes at undergraduate nursing and midwifery programs.
Other programs, such as the Nurse-Family Partnership of Central Alabama, administered by the UAB School of Nursing, meet campaign priorities on a local level. As the School becomes more involved in the campaign, faculty and students are encouraged to make the connections between their courses, research or clinical activities and the global health agenda.
“There is a misconception that sustainable development goals and a global health agenda means international engagement, not realizing that you can do a lot of work in your own backyard. There are pressing needs in Alabama that need to be addressed and nurses should have a prominent voice in delivering essential services and driving health policy,” Markaki said.
Ultimately, Nursing Now will address the obstacles that stop nurses from reaching their full potential.
The campaign plans to accomplish these goals by the end of 2020, which marks the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The UAB School of Nursing is home to the interactive Barrett Brock MacKay Florence Nightingale Exhibit, a showcase of nearly 50 letters and other memorabilia from a time in her life when not much is know. It is used to foster innovative education and scholarly activity focused on Nightingale’s contributions to modern health care, public health and evidence-based research.
By bringing together stakeholders from different countries, the campaign encourages exchange of ideas as well as provides a forum to share evidence of nursing impact. Participating entities are able to share case studies that show nurses’ impact on basic health indicators within a community.
“These examples come from countries with various levels of available resources,” Markaki said. “All of them illustrate the critical role nurses and midwives can play in addressing health disparities.”
Information on the campaign, including how to join, can be found at nursingnow.org.