Year of the Nurse and the Midwife 2020

WHO/Igor Vrabie

01 January - 31 December 2020

WHO has designated 2020, the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

Nurses and midwives work at all levels of health systems and across diverse settings and contexts delivering quality care, leading teams, conducting research, influencing and implementing policy, and educating the next generation of nurses and midwives.

Simply put, their role is critical to making universal health coverage a reality around the world.

Throughout the year, and including activities on and around World Health Day, WHO will work closely with partners to celebrate the contributions of nurses and midwives, highlight the challenges they often face, and advocate for planned investment in the nursing and midwifery workforce.

Strengthening nursing and midwifery in the WHO European Region

Nurses and midwives comprise a majority of health-care professionals in the Region and play a key role in the successful delivery of health- and social-care services. As the health needs of the Region change, nurses are becoming an increasingly important part of the response.

WHO/Europe provides support to countries across the Region for strengthening nursing and midwifery. Recommended actions for a strong nursing and midwifery workforce include:

  • raising nursing and midwifery education to the university level;
  • expanding the scope of nursing and midwifery practices;
  • preparing nurses for leadership roles in health-care systems;
  • creating pathways for career progression;
  • improving working conditions and salaries of nurses and midwives;
  • increasing nurses’ and midwives’ participation in decision-making at all levels of policy development and implementation;
  • developing effective workforce planning strategies; and
  • raising awareness in government and society of the importance of nurses’ and midwives’ work.

Appreciation and support for nurses and midwives

In 2020, events and activities will highlight the need to strengthen nursing and midwifery to achieve health for all and boost nursing and midwifery leadership.

The year-long focus on nurses and midwives is an opportunity to get involved and demonstrate broad public and political support for more health workers with the right skills and in the right locations to best meet people’s changing health- and social-care needs.