Nursing Now!

Learning From the Past, Positioning for the Future

David C. Benton, PhD, RN, FRCN, FAAN; Christine J. Beasley, DBE, RN; Stephanie L. Ferguson, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP

Disclosures

Online J Issues Nurs. 2019;24(2) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

The Nursing Now! campaign, a program of the Burdett Trust for Nursing, is being undertaken in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses to create a social movement to improve health globally by raising the profile and status of nurses worldwide. Recently, the Nursing Now! campaign produced a report that was launched at the 2018 WISH Foundation meeting in Qatar that explored how the profession of nursing could contribute to the rapid and cost-effective expansion of high-quality universal health coverage (UHC). In this research study we identified how nurses, relative to the medical profession, are contributing to scholarship on UHC, and explored potential opportunities to leverage already-published research toward this agenda. This article offers background and history about UHC, and discusses the methods, results, recommendations, and limitations of our study. The profession of nursing lags significantly behind the medical profession but can potentially make rapid progress if the isolated efforts of researchers are harnessed and systematic methods of knowledge transfer are applied to existing research on nurse-led services and directed toward the pursuit of UHC. This study establishes a baseline of current nursing scholarship that can be used to assess progress in addressing today's policy opportunities.

Introduction

The 33rd President of the United States (U.S.), Harry Truman, in his oral biography said, "There is nothing new in the world apart from the history you do not know" (Miller, 1974). Far earlier, Florence Nightingale, in her 1872 addresses to probationers and qualified nurses, said "For us who nurse, our nursing is a thing, which, unless we make progress every year, every month, every week, take my word for it we are going back" (Nash, 1914). It is our intention to use the concepts contained within these two quotes – learning from history and the need to make progress – as the synergistic drivers to explore the opportunities that the nursing profession now faces.

As we approach the 200th anniversary of the birth of Nightingale, the Nursing Now! Campaign (WHO, n.d.a) is preparing to use this auspicious event as a springboard to the future. The campaign is a program of the Burdett Trust for Nursing (n.d.) and is being undertaken in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO, n.d.b) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN, n.d.). The campaign seeks to improve health globally by raising the profile and status of nurses worldwide – influencing policymakers and supporting nurses themselves to lead, learn and build a global movement. Centered on five objectives (Table 1), Nursing Now! continues to mobilize international partners, as well as more than 60 national nursing groups.

It is not possible in a single article to address all the objectives set out by the campaign. Instead, we focus on the pursuit of universal health coverage (UHC) and, when appropriate in our critique of how this can be attained, simultaneously address other objectives. Our research identified how nurses, relative to the medical profession, are contributing to scholarship on UHC, and explored potential opportunities to leverage already-published research toward this agenda. This article offers background and history about UHC, and discusses the methods, results, recommendations, and limitations of our study.

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