Strengthening the nursing workforce and integrated care in Czechia

Nikola Haranzová

Nurses and midwives play a key role in the successful delivery of primary health care service.

To support Czechia in strengthening its nursing workforce and the delivery of integrated health services, WHO released a package of focused resources. The launch of the package marked the end of the 2018–2019 biennial collaborative agreement between WHO and Czechia, and the beginning of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife in 2020.

Policy brief to inform next steps

The resource package was launched on 4 December 2019 during an internationally attended event co-hosted by WHO and the Ministry of Health. It includes a policy brief based on findings from a series of activities held between July 2018 and September 2019 that involved discussions in various formats with stakeholders from across the health system and a range of health- and social-care representatives.

As the country seeks to strengthen integrated care in the country, the brief presents 5 policy considerations:

  • scaling up prevention services and primary health care as a hub for integrating health and social care;
  • introducing multidisciplinary practice in primary care to help general practitioners manage increasing complexity;
  • strengthening nursing in primary care to serve as a force multiplier for expanding primary care as a hub;
  • investing in the education of the future health- and social-care workforce; and
  • supporting continuing professional development in primary care.

The proposed recommendations are underpinned by the health labour market framework, which emphasizes sectoral and intersectoral action and governance on the health workforce.

The resources for the country also include proposed competencies for nurses working in primary health care, and 3 case studies from Ireland, Poland and Slovenia, where nurses’ roles have been scaled up in various ways to expand and support their contributions to primary care.

2020: the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

The package of resources for Czechia is just in time for the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. It is the first of a series of resources that will become available across the WHO European Region to promote this important theme for the year ahead.

The Seventy-second World Health Assembly designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife in honour of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. Nurses and midwives play a central role in all health systems. They support people in every aspect of their health and well-being – from health promotion to chronic disease management and specialist services.

The year 2020 will be dedicated to highlighting these contributions. All countries are encouraged to engage in policy dialogue on investment in the nursing and midwifery workforce as a means of strengthening people-centred care, creating quality employment opportunities for women and youth, and achieving universal health coverage.