For the first time ever, the nations of the world unite to celebrate the benefits that nursing and midwifery bring to the health of the global population. To mark this world first, the European Association for Palliative Care is delighted to launch a special series of 12 monthly posts to honour the work of nurses who work in palliative care and draw attention to several issues that are linked to this crucial workforce.
Today, Dr Julie Ling, with a background in nursing and currently CEO, European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) and Dr Piret Paal, researcher and coordinator at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing Research and Education at the Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria, set the scene and give a sneak preview of what you can expect throughout the coming year.
It would be remiss of the EAPC, if we did not significantly mark the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020. This global celebration of nursing was initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the 72nd World Health Assembly in recognition of the importance of nurses and midwives, and their contribution to global health. The WHO has joined forces with International Council of Nurses (ICN) who are jointly aiming to draw attention to the changing face of nursing and ensure that nurses have a voice in policy making. Coincidently, 2020 also marks the 200th birth anniversary of the world’s most famous nurse, Florence Nightingale.
From humble beginnings, in many countries, nursing has evolved into a well-respected profession, whereas, in some countries nurses still continue to struggle to gain the respect that they deserve. Issues such as poor pay, gender imbalance and high staff turnover continue to provide challenges for the nursing profession. Among many empowering initiatives, such as the Nursing Now Campaign and the Nightingale Challenge, the WHO has, for a first time, prepared an inaugural State of the World Nursing (SoWN) report, which will be released as part of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife on 7 April 2020. The final section of the report, entitled: ’Forward-facing policy agenda for advancement towards 2030 targets’ will provide insights into future projections for nursing policy, implementation and research. One of these topic areas is palliative care. Ideally, implementation of the recommendations of the SoWN report will result in nursing in palliative care becoming a permanent part of country profiles. This would be a great help to monitor the developments in nurse-led palliative care practice.
Nursing provides a range of career options including the development of specialist roles. Undoubtedly, the appointment of clinical nurse specialists in palliative care in hospitals and community roles, caring for patients across the life span, has resulted in the development of palliative care services in many countries. Thankfully, many nurses continue to choose roles in palliative care.
In addition to nurses that are working clinically with patients every day, the transferable nature of the skills that are developed as part of nursing practice means that many nurses work in a range of roles in palliative care, that do not include direct patient care but where they can still make an impact. Opportunities to teach, conduct research, manage and to advocate for palliative care ensure that many nurses do not leave the profession, but contribute in a different way to the speciality of palliative care.
It is well documented that palliative care is a truly multidisciplinary specialty, and few could deny the significant impact that nurses have had, and continue to have, on the development of palliative care throughout Europe and beyond. To celebrate nursing throughout 2020, the EAPC has put together a range of important nursing contributors to write for our blog. Each month an invited contributor will focus on nursing from a range of perspectives. Colleagues who have so far kindly agreed to contribute include the following and we hope that others will join them:
Mr Marius Čiurlionis, Head of Nursing, Palliative Medicine and Social Care Clinic, VšĮ Centro Poliklinika, Vilnius, Lithuania.
Lord Nigel Crisp, Co-chair, Nursing Now Campaign, and Co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health, UK.
Prof Bart Cusveller, Professor of Nursing Ethics, Christian University of Applied Sciences Viaa, Zwolle, The Netherlands.
Prof Bridget Johnston, Florence Nightingale Foundation Clinical Professor of Nursing, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
Prof Philip Larkin, Professor of Palliative Nursing, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Ms Alexandra Mancini, Pan London Lead Nurse Neonatal Palliative Care, Chelsea & Westminster Foundation Trust & The True Colours Trust, London, UK.
Dr Nicoleta Mitrea, Director of Education and Development – Nursing/Department of National Development and Education, HOSPICE Casa Sperantei, Romania.
Prof Catherine Walshe, Co-Director, International Observatory on End of Life Care, Lancaster University, UK, and Editor-in-Chief of Palliative Medicine, UK.
Celebrate the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020 on the EAPC blog. Join us in February when Prof Catherine Walshe discusses ‘Why nurses should conduct research on nurse-led practices in End of Life and Palliative Care and publish their results’.
Links and resources