International Nurses Day 2011

A nurse caring for patient in Indonesia
© Ministry of Health, Republic of Indonesia

Geneva, 12 May 2011 | International Nurses Day, celebrated every year on 12 May marks the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. As every year, it is an opportunity to pay special attention to the essential role played by nurses everywhere in the world in the provision of health services to citizens . Similarly, the shortage of nurses in many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in rural and hard to reach areas, constitutes a major obstacle to accessing health care. Nurses who stay in their job are often overworked, poorly paid and have low social status, as well as limited tools and resources and few career development opportunities. .

The theme for this year's commemoration is "CLOSING THE GAP: INCREASING ACCESS AND EQUITY". The gap is understood as the divide in accessing health care services between rich and poor, between developing and developed countries, between women and men, and between rural and urban residents.

Access and equity encompass a range of principles such as availability and use of services , relevance of the services based on the local needs , achievement of the desired treatment or service , and equity in access to services among different population groups.

Alliance member, the International Council of Nurses (ICN), has developed a toolkit that provides in-depth analysis of the concepts of this year's theme. The ICN is also the lead health professional organization for the Positive Practice Environment Campaign, an initiative supported by the Alliance that advocates for healthy and supportive work environments within health systems.

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