In January of 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) made the official proposal to declare 2020 the year of the nurse and the midwife. And voila! It is now 2020!

The World Health Organization is a global institution that services the countries of the United Nations. This includes 194 countries  throughout the world, and in each one, the WHO has one mission: to assist each country in achieving the most optimum health possible for their people.

Pope Francis has also chimed in to celebrate nursing and the WHO designation. He called the nursing profession “a real mission,” and referred to nurses as, “experts in humanity.” He told an audience that when he was 20 years old, “I was on the verge of death and a nurse saved my life.  She was the one who told the doctors, even arguing with them, “No this isn’t working, you must give more. And thanks to her, I survived.”  (She sounds like she would have made a great Guardian Nurse!)

Part of the WHO’s agenda is to bring adequate healthcare to all people across all communities. This they named Universal Health Coverage, and its mission is to bring quality health coverage to people of all communities and socioeconomic status, focusing on lower-income citizens who are typically most financially devastated by costs of primary care, acute care, and don’t have the means to participate in preventative care.

What does this mean for the field of nursing? Annette Kennedy, President of the International Council of Nursing, said that this designation is an ‘important stepping stone for nurses.” According to Kennedy, “it will promote an excellent standard of education for nurses, create better working environments to retain nurses in the field and advocate for more advanced nurses which in turn gets more people better healthcare coverage.”     

But, for the nurses at Guardian Nurses, “The Year of the Nurse” means that we get to toot our horns and celebrate the profession we love.  All of us on our team love nursing and love helping people. We have nurses who have more than 30 years of experience in nursing and they STILL love it!        

And in our current role as nurse advocates, we support patients and families through some of the most challenging chapters of their lives.  One day we’ll get a call from someone who has been diagnosed with a life threatening diagnosis and want our support to help him through a second opinion.  Then the next day, we’ll reach out to a patient whose child’s diagnostic test was not approved by their insurance company and we’ll work to resolve that.  Just last week, we visited a new patient at home who had signed consent for surgery, but during our visit he shyly admitted that he was not literate and asked for our help understanding what was going to happen to him.     

Being a nurse in and of itself brings joy. We are the most respected profession in the country. Advanced nursing practice is becoming a cornerstone of American healthcare. Nurses have a powerful future mapped out in the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report and that needs support from all of us.  Next time you meet a nurse, say “thank you.” That will be a small, but appreciated gesture.      

It’s going to be a great year for nurses and a fantastic year at Guardian Nurses!!   Happy 2020!!