This year, the motto reflects the extent to which the day is fully focused on the pandemic: While many countries are trying to return to a pre-pandemic daily routine, the care situation in hospitals remains difficult. The pandemic not only claimed the lives of nurses in the initial phase, because not enough protective equipment was available and there was also no vaccination yet. Many nurses have now also given up their profession out of exhaustion or frustration, or because the support in politics and society that still existed in the spring of 2020 is lacking.
Furthermore, demographic change will hit the nursing profession twofold in the coming years. More elderly people will need more care, both in hospitals and in nursing facilities or at home. In addition, more caregivers will leave the profession due to age than will join it.
All the more reason, therefore, for us as a society to listen to the voices of nurses in order to keep health systems around the world efficient or to make them more efficient. After all, the nursing professions represent the basis of medical care, without which no effective therapy can be carried out.
Improvements in working conditions are needed to support nurses. Even in the years leading up to the pandemic, a decline in the number of nursing staff was evident. The pandemic exacerbated the problem, with entire wards severely understaffed due to numerous absences. In extreme cases, missing staff had to be replaced by nurses from other disciplines or those who had not yet completed their training. In addition, a fairer payment for nurses is in order, one that does justice to the high responsibility of the profession and the requirements.
Those who want to support nurses can join the campaign around International Nurses Day on social media using the hashtags #IND2022 and #VoiceToLead. Nursing associations, hospitals and unions are also organizing local campaigns to provide political support for the demands of nursing.