Statement in celebration of International Nurses Day

12 May 2009 | Geneva - Today is International Nurses Day. International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. The International Council of Nurses, an Alliance member organization, commemorates this important day each year with the production and distribution of the International Nurses Day (IND) Kit. The IND theme for 2009 is: Delivering Quality, Serving Communities: Nurses Leading Care Innovations.

On the occasion of International Nurses Day, the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA) is underscoring the critical role that nurses have in the delivery of essential health care services and celebrates their contributions to the success of public health worldwide but especially in remote communities, where in many instances, they are often the only ones who are there to provide the care and support to those most in need.

Nurses worldwide are engaged in innovative activities on a daily basis resulting in significant improvements in the health of patients, populations and health systems. Their contributions have been a fundamental source of progress for health care systems around the world. They work in all types of settings and in the service of a wide constituency of patients, families, communities and health care personnel. Novel solutions by nurses also represent a vital element in efforts to address current global health challenges such as the increase in non-communicable diseases, more complex communicable and emerging diseases, aging populations, inadequate resources and workforce shortages.

"We are proud to support nurses and this year's IND campaign theme" stated Dr Mubashar Sheikh, Executive Director of the Global Health Workforce Alliance. “This year's theme is a testimony to the innovative solutions that nurses seek out each and every day to make a real difference in the lives of their patients and in the communities they work in." It could not have come at a more opportune moment. The need for innovative and creative solutions has never been greater as health care environments globally struggle to provide equitable, safe and effective health services while, at the same time, containing costs.

Leadership is fundamental to addressing the global health workforce crisis. The Alliance is proud to be associated with the International Council of Nurses as they work to ensure innovative nurse-led projects are promoted and shared, and that nurses are supported in their efforts to provide innovative solutions to the challenges and demands of health care provision.