Nurse and midwife leaders delivering health for all in the WHO European Region

Russian Nurses Association

Nurse and midwife leaders in the WHO European Region work at all levels of health systems and across diverse contexts delivering quality care, leading teams, conducting research, educating the next generation of nurses and midwives, strengthening the workforce through training or by empowering management, and influencing policy.

These leaders are motivated by a passion for their work, a sense of dedication to their patients, a drive to improve the working environment, and the curiosity and commitment to keep learning throughout their careers. They innovate, pioneer solutions and contribute to making health care available, accessible and affordable for all.

On the occasion of International Day of the Midwife on 5 May and International Nurses Day on 12 May, WHO/Europe collected inspirational stories from nurses and midwives in leadership roles across the Region, examining the skills, qualities and decisions that led them to their current roles.

Elena Khasanova started her career as a nurse anaesthetist. She is now Chief Nurse at SOGAZ, a private clinic in St Petersburg, Russian Federation, and head of the nursing department at an educational institution. “I believe in the strength of education,” she says. “I am sure that the more we give to nursing students, the better-quality nurses we will get in some years.”

Eva Tegnander from Norway is a pioneering midwife educator who has been training midwives in ultrasound scanning for more than 30 years. “I love the work that I do as a midwife. I like the setting and I enjoy connecting with the parents as they see their baby for the first time. I also like teaching, to enable other midwives to do quality work,” she says.

Olga Pînteac began her career as a surgical nurse. She worked on a surgery ward for 15 years before being promoted to a nurse manager role. Today, she is Chief Nurse at the Institute of Emergency Medicine in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, and leads 650 nurses. Olga has always been an ardent proponent of hand hygiene and says, “I brought a commitment to hand hygiene with me when I become the chief nurse, only this time I wanted the whole institution to be as clean and sanitary as an operating room.”

These and other stories showcase nurse and midwife leaders who inspire their peers, future leaders and other health professionals, and contribute to their professions and communities in meaningful ways. What is common to all these nurses and midwives is a love of their work, a commitment to their patients, and a will to initiate and lead change to improve the delivery of health care.