Nursing and midwifery leaders report progress towards “health for all” goals

WHO/Sophie Weston

Chief nursing officers, national nursing and midwifery associations and WHO collaborating centres from across the WHO European Region reported positive developments in nursing and midwifery towards achieving Health 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals during a meeting in Athens on 3–4 October 2018.

Through working group sessions, nursing and midwifery leaders discussed significant progress in introducing bachelor degree education for nurses and midwives, as well as increasing the level of interprofessional education during education and training. Midwives and nurses are taking on new roles, such as nurse prescribing, and are more involved in research to expand the evidence base in nursing and midwifery.

Participants at the meeting also shared information and perspectives about recent developments at the national level, such as the establishment of national nursing registries, new settings in which midwives are delivering services to vulnerable groups, or for minimum staffing levels, driven by evidence-based policy.

The event was guided by 3 overarching themes, in line with the recent high-level meeting in Tallinn “Health systems for prosperity and solidarity: leaving no one behind”:

  • include – improving coverage, access and financial protection for everyone;
  • innovate – harnessing innovations and systems to meet people’s needs;
  • invest – making the case for investing in health systems.

The meeting and discussions were especially timely, as this year WHO celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration on Nursing in the era for health for all, with nurses acting as partners in decision-making on health planning and playing a greater role in empowering individuals, families and communities to take charge of their own health.

The network of nursing and midwifery leaders remains strong and of high value for the European Region. Through this network and in partnership, new publications have been developed such as “Simulation in nursing and midwifery education” and an updated edition of “Facilitating evidence-based practice in nursing and midwifery in the WHO European Region”. Partners and colleagues are also engaged in cross-country collaboration for piloting the Midwifery Assessment Tool for Education (MATE), developed by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Midwifery Development at Cardiff University.

A full report of the meeting will be published in the coming weeks.