International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12.

This is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

The 2019 theme for International Nurses Day has been ‘Nurses: A voice to lead Health For All’, and focuses on the need for nurses to become more active and vocal in policy development and implementation.

It is widely recognised that nurses are essential in transforming health care and health systems such that no person is left behind without access to care or weakened because of their need for health care.

Globally there is a shortage of nurses and Vanuatu is also struggling to provide quality nurses.

In Vanuatu, nurses must complete a three-year Diploma in Nursing programme.

This is now currently being strengthened to meet the criteria of a Bachelor of Nursing, which will be offered to students in the very near future. To achieve ‘Health for All’, every nurse has a role to play in global health security, such as, educating communities and implementing the importance of infection control, but there are still many gaps that remain.

Nurses work in diverse practice areas, provide patient advocacy, and implement and apply evidence-based best practice skills to the health care service delivery.

Nurses are ideally placed to lead and inform health service decision making and policy development to improve the health of the community.

A goal of health care is not more treatment, it is better health for the needs of the population contextual to the place and people.

Our nurses need to be supported to provide quality health care, which requires a robust health system with empowered leaders. Health needs to foster leadership in nursing to advance health care service delivery to the vulnerable and minority groups in Vanuatu.

Nurses build close relationships with the community and collaborate with local community health workers. Nurses treat, prescribe and use health education and promotion to prevent chronic conditions such as obesity, cardiac health diabetes.

Now is the time for nurses around the world to help transform our stories for the people we serve into the policies and systems to realise ‘Health for All’.

Nurses – it’s in our nature to care!

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