Celebrating the Year of the Nurse and Midwife

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female nurse sitting with her laptop

The World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife to honor the millions of people who have devoted their lives to transforming healthcare and committed to following through on Florence Nightingale’s work and vision.

The Year of the Nurse and Midwife, which coincides with Nightingale’s 200th birthday, is expected to bring more attention to nursing as the link between in-need communities and providers who want to help. 2020 will also see the continuation of other nurse-focused programs, including the three-year Nursing Now global campaign and The Future of Nursing 2020-2030 study. All of the programs are intended to draw attention to the next generation of healthcare providers.

“The Year of the Nurse is not only an opportunity to honor Florence Nightingale’s legacy but also to increase understanding and recognition of nursing as a distinct profession that cares for the sick and promotes and optimizes health and wellness for individuals, communities and populations,” Robyn Begley, DNP and chief executive officer of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership, said to Johnson & Johnson Nursing.

“I would like the public to truly see nurses as experts in advancing health and for decision makers to seek nurses for leadership positions, board service and input on all matters involving health. By highlighting the contributions of nurses around the globe, I believe we can build a diverse and inclusive nursing workforce, reflective of the community and patients served.”

In the nurse manager role, nurses who have earned a doctor of nursing practice, including through an online DNP program, have the opportunity to impact the nurse midwife work environment in a positive manner, just as Nightingale did. As leaders, nurses have helped shape healthcare into what it is today.

Florence Nightingale’s Impact

As the single most influential person in nursing, Florence Nightingale changed healthcare with her focus on hygiene and nutrition. She also used evidence-based theory to change the approach to modern nursing and public health reform.

Nightingale’s main body of work started during the Crimean War. In the six months that she and a group of volunteer nurses worked at an army hospital, the disease mortality rate dropped dramatically.

Some of her main focuses included:

  • Placing patients at least 3 feet apart
  • Insisting that hospital sewers be flushed multiple times a day
  • Moving horses inside the hospital to a location away from patients
  • Ensuring better ventilation inside hospital wards.

Nightingale collected data and established standardized practices and procedures for the nursing profession that serve as a foundation for nursing today.

“Today we appreciate the role of not just medicine, but of data and analytics, to help fight disease,” Gale Adcock, chief health officer for the healthcare analytics firm SAS, said. “Where Nightingale relied on statistics to help combat death due to wounds inflicted by an obvious and visible enemy, today’s medical professionals are using data to combat an invisible – but still deadly – enemy. The use of predictive modeling has assisted government officials and health authorities to make tough decisions about which public health measures to suggest and which to mandate.”

Modern Nursing

In the past 200 years, Nightingale’s influence can be seen in all aspects of nursing, including infection control and evidence-based care. Modern nursing includes more than just taking care of individual patient needs. Nurses today are change leaders who have higher levels of responsibility than ever before.

The healthcare staffing firm Trusted said the Year of the Nurse is an important milestone because it highlights the modern nurse. The organization said modern nurses have high expectations for the future of the profession. They are dynamic professionals who are committed to providing the highest level of care possible, the organization said its blog post, 2020 is the Year of the (Modern) Nurse.

“Accordingly, 2020 is our time to celebrate the efforts made by nurses everywhere to improve health conditions globally; recognize and reflect upon the challenging conditions nurses face in practice, whether they be physical, emotional, or mental; and, then take strides toward increasing and better caring for the existing nursing workforce,” the organization said.

Indeed, nursing has proven to be critical to improving health worldwide. In an effort to continue the lifesaving work, RNs are taking on more significant roles in the nurse midwife work environment. In the nurse manager role, RNs make a difference on a large scale. Duquesne University’s online DNP program teaches RNs how to be leaders.

About Duquesne University’s Online DNP Program

Duquesne University’s online DNP program prepares RNs for clinical leadership positions to usher in positive change in healthcare. Duquesne University offers three DNP tracks:

  • Clinical Leadership DNP
  • Post-Bachelor’s Executive Nurse Leadership DNP
  • Post-Master’s Executive Nurse Leadership DNP

The university’s curriculum builds on existing experiences and knowledge, allowing graduates to implement evidence-based practice in clinical settings.

Duquesne University’s online DNP program provides RNs an opportunity to continue their professional career and maintain family responsibilities while earning an advanced degree. For more information, contact Duquesne University now.



Celebrate Florence Nightingale’s 200th Birthday With Exhibit Featuring Her Famed Lamp, Pet Owl: Smithsonian Magazine

Channeling Nightingale in the time of COVID-19: SAS

2020 is the Year of the (Modern) Nurse: Trusted