Over the last 18 months Professors Aisha Holloway and Pam Smith have been working with global nursing leader and policy activist Jane Salvage exploring the global nursing agenda through a series of scholarly exchanges. On Thursday 7 December, Nursing Studies hosted a seminar to welcome Jane. She is Visiting Professor at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, and at the School of Nursing, Coimbra, Portugal.
The seminar covered a range of issues including:
- Thinking nursing, thinking globally, acting locally
- Nursing Now! – how you can get involved in the global campaign to transform health systems
- Crisis and opportunity in nursing leadership
The future development of nursing is of vital importance to global health. Despite its great traditions and good practice, nursing faces great challenges – but a window of opportunity is open: the need to support and scale up nursing is finally being recognised. One game-changer is Triple Impact, a UK parliamentary review of the future development of nursing globally and to which Professors Aisha Holloway and Pam Smith provided written evidence on ‘Leadership’. Alongside other new initiatives, it has provided a springboard for a new global nursing movement, called Nursing Now!
The stakes could not be higher. Strengthening nursing globally is central to achieving some of the Sustainable Development Goals; delivering universal health coverage and better health for all; improving the lives of women at work; and strengthening local economies. The obstacles include worsening long-term shortages of resources and staff; difficulties with recruitment, retention and return; undervaluing of nurses’ work, such as inappropriate substitution of registered nurses with less qualified staff; poor quality and/or lack of initial and continuing education; and lack of research capacity and awareness. The social and economic returns on investing in nursing are potentially massive, yet the need for this investment is poorly understood.
Nurses are taken for granted, seldom heard and even more seldom heeded. To the detriment of communities, health services and patients everywhere, we are well nigh invisible at top tables. In the boardrooms, offices and conference halls where key health decisions and policies are made, nurses are absent or our voices are muted.
Recent years have seen numerous reports, commissions and strategies on nursing at national, regional and international levels. Many repeat existing knowledge and aspirations, and their recommendations are rarely fully implemented. Nurses talk about them to each other, but few others take much notice. Strong and effective nursing leaders are needed to tackle this huge agenda, and every nurse and every nursing student has a part to play.