WHO/Europe launches 2 strategic publications showing nurses’ and midwives’ impact on reaching Health 2020 priorities

WHO/Europe's programme on nursing and midwifery has launched first-of-their-kind publications highlighting the tangible role nurses and midwives play in reaching Health 2020 priority objectives for the WHO European Region. The "European strategic directions for strengthening nursing and midwifery towards Health 2020 goals" highlight the connections between education, planning and management of the professions. The accompanying compendium of good practices in nursing and midwifery demonstrates how these directions are pursued in the Region, and how these nurses and midwives make evidence-based contributions to achieving population health goals.

The first publication provides a guide for Member States to enable and enhance the contribution of nurses and midwives to accomplishing the goals of Health 2020. It serves as a framework to develop strategic action, offering clear and specific means for maximizing nursing and midwifery potential and enabling their full contribution for supporting Health 2020 implementation with clear action lines.

It lists 4 priority areas and 4 enablers, with specific advice.

  • Rethink the roles of nurses and midwives and optimize skill mix in the context of demographic trends, technological advancements, patterns of diseases and changing population health needs.
  • Invest in and transform nurses' and midwives' education and training to develop a highly qualified and purpose-specific body of health professionals.
  • Improve nurses' and midwives' performance and promote innovative, cost-effective practices by designing more effective management and reward systems, and thereby developing an attractive working environment.
  • Establish evidence-informed policies to ensure a sufficient and sustainable nursing and midwifery workforce with effective retention strategies.

The second publication, the compendium, serves to highlight tangible examples of value-added nursing and midwifery interventions that align with Health 2020 and meet the Region's most critical needs. It includes 55 case studies from 18 countries and illustrates the vital role nurses and midwives play in reaching Health 2020 objectives. Key findings include:

  • good practices in nursing and midwifery that best support Health 2020 implementation;
  • contributions of nurses and midwives to enhance health and prevent disease across the life-course and throughout government sectors;
  • descriptions of ways evidence-based practices and interprofessional collaboration facilitate innovation; and
  • evidence for enabling policies to maximize nursing and midwifery potential.

Together, each publication makes direct ties to Health 2020, a driving force and overarching priority for WHO/Europe.