Welcome to the international year of nursing and midwifery 

In the January edition, Professor Jill White discusses the year and the Nursing Now campaign for which she has been a member of the International Board.

Jill discusses the need for the professions to take responsibility for ensuring this International Year results in more than just an opportunity to celebrate.

Yes, we do need to celebrate: but it’s also time for us to realise existing, and set some new, goals.

In terms of the Nursing Now framework, we must set local goals that align with the Triple Impact framework that will operate around the globe focussing on:

  • improving health:
  • promoting gender equality; and
  • supporting economic growth.

In many ways these impacts resonate with a number of our existing campaigns and strategies.

Improving health and wellbeing is at the heart of our aged care safe staffing campaign. The international year aligns with completion of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which concludes in November. We should recommit to campaigning for safe and effective staffing levels and skill mix that will ensure the wellbeing and health of older Australians.

We most also continue to work for a realignment of investment into health promotion and achievement of improved health outcomes through primary health care provision. We have actively promoted such reforms for many years and there has been some realisation at state and national levels of the need for change.

Nursing and midwifery work has struggled to be recognised and rewarded as challenging professional and intellectually based activities. Whilst recognising the caring work of the professions, too often the knowledge and skills are unnoticed and certainly under-rewarded.

Traditionally, female work continues to be underpaid with the gap between male and female earnings stubbornly refusing to be bridged. Women continue to receive superannuation amounts well below levels that sustain them in retirement and at levels well below those for male colleagues.

The economic value of health care roles of all kinds continues to be represented as a cost to the community, when in fact restoration of health and minimising the effects of illness create the capacity for the community to participate in education and employment. Nurses and midwives are at the heart of driving the performance of our health care system and its effectiveness and efficiency. However, their central role is often overlooked and marginalised.

So, in this important year, let’s commit to addressing these and other issues in a way that will make a difference for the future and to those who come after us.

Let’s have a party but have a celebration with a focus and with no nasty hangover to follow. Instead we should seek to leave the world and our small part of it better off as a consequence of all the celebrations.

The cover artwork is a collage of 12 nurses, midwives and personal care workers and reflects the diversity of health settings, locations and clinical practice areas in which you provide care.
International Year of the Nurse and Midwife provides the perfect opportunity to highlight the many ways you make a profound impact to the community in your care.
Learn more at anmfsa.org.au/2020