‘Nurses a vital force for providing quality care in difficult times’ – MUMN
● Yesterday, 12 May, nurses around the world celebrated International Nurses Day, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth
The aim of the day is to celebrate nursing and to bring awareness of the importance of nurses’ work to as many people as possible. The theme for this year as established by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) is: ‘Nurses: A voice to lead – Health is a Human Right’. ‘Health is a Human Right’ means that all human beings have the right to access affordable and quality health care at a time when they need it most. A core building block of the right to health and the aspiration for the highest attainable standard of health is an effective and integrated health system that encompasses health care that is concerned about the determinants of health. This health system also needs to be responsive to both local and national priorities and be accessible to all. When this is achieved, the foundations are set in place for a healthy and equitable society.
Nurses are the largest profession in the health workforce, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses said in a statement. The nursing profession is well-positioned to drive efficiency and effective improvements while providing optimal patient care. Nurses are at the core of attaining the best quality, access, and cost balance. The MUMN affirms that nurses, in their everyday work, are already on the way to ensuring that these goals are achieved. As recommended by the ICN, the nursing profession is joining forces and making its voice heard, as nurses can lead the way to better health for all. The MUMN wants to share that message, so that the voice of nurses will be vital to the crucial conversation around the nation’s health care reforms. It is therefore essential that nurses and policy-makers focus on the nursing role in care-effective and cost-effective healthcare systems as a key priority and determi- nant for achieving equity, delivering universal health coverage and ultimately improving health outcomes globally.
Health care systems can only function with appropriately skilled and available health workers. If the right to the highest attainable standard of health is to be achieved, it is dependent on the accessibility, availability and quality of health systems and the people who work in them. For this to be achievable, there are multiple challenges that need to be addressed, which include addressing the issues related to the nurses’ shortage, unbalanced skill mix and high workloads. Investment in these areas of the health workforce will lead to improved health and economic growth. Investing in the nursing workforce will see major returns on investment. A strong nursing sector is the necessary building block of a strong health care sector. Nurses must be encouraged to take significant leadership roles in health policy, planning, and provision. Literature indicates that the quality of nursing, the culture and associated workloads are associated with patient outcomes including length of stays, mortality, morbidity, patient satisfaction and a range of other quality measures.
Inherent in this year’s theme, is that nurses are a vital force for providing quality care in difficult times by helping the system to be more cost-effective and care-effective. Good quality care and patient safety are at the core of the MUMN’s vision. The MUMN, as the vehicle of influence in achieving nursing goals, will continue to be a leading voice. Through a collaborative effort, the MUMN will endeavour to work for the benefit of society, the advancement of the profession and the development of its members.
Hence, the MUMN is committed to ensure that: a) more individuals join and be part of the nursing profession; b) nurses’ shortage is tackled effectively and efficiently, so that good quality care is ensured; c) nurses will have the opportunity to further their education and specialise in nursing practice; d) enhance nurses’ professional status; e) workplaces are safe, so that nurses together with the multidisciplinary team will strengthen health systems and improve patient safety. In this regard, the MUMN looks forward to: a) that through the nursing campaign more students will join the nursing profession; b) nurses will have their area of specialisation recognised through the specialist framework; c) for a new sectoral agreement that will provide avenues to which nurses will be attracted, recruited and retained as part of the local nursing workforce. The MUMN will strive to advocate and reinforce the critical role of nurses in the development of quality health policy and the effective and efficient redesign of health systems that increase access and delivery of effective health interventions.