Pope Acknowledges 2020 As The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

“Nurses are the most numerous healthcare workers, and those closest to the sick, and midwives carry out perhaps the noblest of the professions.” Pope Francis

The leader of the Catholic Church has recognised 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife and praised the “precious” work carried out by those in the nursing profession.

In an official address at St Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis said he was “pleased” that this year had been dedicated to nursing and midwifery.

Speaking after the Angelus prayer on Sunday, he said: “I am pleased to recall that 2020 has been internationally designated Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

“Nurses are the most numerous healthcare workers, and those closest to the sick, and midwives carry out perhaps the noblest of the professions.

“Let us pray for all of them, that they may do their precious work in the best possible way.”

The leaders of Nursing Now – a campaign designed to raise the profile of nurses and midwives around the world – welcomed the support of Pope Francis.

Lord Nigel Crisp, co-chair of Nursing Now, said: “It is crucial that leaders around the world recognise the importance of this year, and that we use the global momentum to spark real change for nurses and midwives around the world.”

The decision to designate 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife was made by the World Health Organization to mark the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

The designation by the World Health Organization (WHO) of 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife is intended to alert governments to the need to recruit and retain staff to prevent potentially disruptive nursing shortages world-wide. WHO figures suggest there will be a shortfall of up to nine million nurses and midwives by 2030 if drastic action is not taken immediately.

ICN President Annette Kennedy said:

“It is wonderful that Pope Francis has spoken out about the essential work that nurses and midwives do. His comments will give a boost to all nurses of different faiths and none.

‘This year, governments will have to make crucial decisions about the future of the nursing and midwifery workforce.

‘The Pope’s leadership should galvanise politicians around the world and encourage them to make the right choices, which must include starting massive recruitment drives to avert the predicted shortages over the next decade.”

Echoing Ms Kennedy’s words, President of the Italian Nurses Association (CNAI) Walter De Caro said:

“It is gratifying to hear Pope Francis’s appreciation of the precious work of nurses and midwives, and the importance of 2020 to our profession.

‘I strongly believe that his message, beginning in Italy, will influence governments and other organisations to invest in the nursing and midwifery workforce so that we can realise their full potential to improve health around the globe.”
Source: ICN News and Nursing Times Magazine.

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