International Nurses Day is an annual worldwide celebration, held on the 12th of May. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared this year to be The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and, on this day, the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, we commemorate the work of those in the nursing profession, especially given the current global situation.
Nursing the world to health
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has chosen the motto “Nursing the world to health.” for this year, although underlining everything likely will always be “Health is a human right.”
To paraphrase Pamela Cipriano, 1st Vice President of the ICN and President of the American Nurses Association, “People must have access to affordable, quality healthcare, no matter where or when.” this is an area that Finland takes particular pride in with an excellent public healthcare system.
Who is Florence Nightingale?
For those wondering about who Florence Nightingale was, she was the founder of modern nursing. She came from privileged beginnings, but her passion drove her into nursing after visiting a hospital in Kaiserwerth, Germany. Her work transformed the social recognition of nursing into a profession based on beliefs in human dignity and scientific knowledge. She laid the groundwork for people-centered care and was also an advocate for women’s rights. To quote the International Nurses Day 2020 resources and evidence: “Her quest to do something practical was not only driven by her empathy for the human condition and a moral compulsion to act, but also by frustration with the role of women. Nightingale railed against gender as a barrier to participating in public life. Her mode of nursing relied upon working to the authority of one female leader in an institution as well as affording the opportunity to women of earning their living and forging independent careers.”
Nightingale’s definition of nursing still holds true to this day as well: “Both kinds of nursing (sick and health) are to put us in the best possible conditions for nature to restore or preserve health – to prevent or to cure disease or injury.”
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The future of nursing
Despite many tasks now and in the future transferring to automated AI systems, people who are capable of empathizing with others will have valued qualities. Nursing differs from medicine because of those intrinsic values centered on human understanding and caring for patients with a holistic view that cannot be substituted by machines. Nursing professionals of the next generation should, therefore, develop a deep understanding of individual human needs and receive continuous training with a focus on the whole person as well as holistic approaches to problem-solving.