It's Time to Act

Strategies to Strengthen the Nursing and Midwifery Workforce

Fariba Al-Darazi, PhD, MSc, BSc, RN, MFPH (RCP, UK); Stephanie L. Ferguson, PhD, RN, FAAN


Nurs Econ. 2022;40(1):31-33. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Evidence on the economic value and contribution of nurses and midwives in the provision of quality, cost-effective, and accessible care in a multitude of settings must be integrated into the national health system and policy decisions on health care. Nursing and healthcare leaders must be committed to strengthening the nursing and midwifery workforce.


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to focus international attention on nurses' lifesaving contributions. At the same time, COVID has pulled back the curtain and revealed just how ill-equipped most countries are to respond to a pandemic of this scale. With more emergencies, disasters, and epidemics headed our way, nurse leaders must take action now to ensure history does not repeat itself. Strengthening the global nursing and midwifery workforce is a critical first step.

At the 74th World Health Assembly in May 2021, member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) passed a new, comprehensive resolution to address this issue. WHO also released an accompanying report, Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery 2021–2025 (SDNM) (WHO, 2021a), which details what must be done over the next 5 years to ensure an educated, professional, abundant, well-trained workforce. The SDNM is unique because, instead of issuing a laundry list of goals, it includes valuable, evidence-based guidance to help us achieve them. We applaud the WHO for providing this monitoring and accountability framework.