“Applauding our nurses is not enough” – our message for International Nurses Day

A message from EPHA Director General, Dr Milka Sokolović,  on International Nurses Day

In every healthcare system, nurses are ones that give the human touch, that offer compassion and warmth, while performing increasingly complex and specialist functions, with a high degree of knowledge, responsibility and autonomy. Regardless of their background, nurses provide exceptional care to all categories of patients, while working under high-stress, and often under the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

The invaluable contribution of nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers – many of whom are represented in EPHA’s membership – both in clinical settings and in the community, is often under-valued, even taken for granted.

COVID-19 has put nurses and other frontline workers in the limelight, and temporarily turned them into ‘heroes & heroines’ showered with applause and respect. But applauding is not enough. Our high expectations of nurses must be matched by policies and recognition that value their unique contributions to healthcare and society.

We must do our utmost to safeguard their health, safety and wellbeing. We need to improve their pay and working conditions, to ensure that they benefit

  • from peer and inter-professional support
  • from high quality accreditation systems of training and education
  • and from continuous professional development , to advance their competences and improve their role.

Only through intersectoral action and policy coherence between health, education, migration, development, employment, and economic policies can we build strong health systems and a sustainable health workforce.

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