On May 12, we join our global community in celebration of International Nurses Day. Recognized annually, we are proud to honor the voices of nurses around the world, especially those who serve in under-resourced regions.

This year, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) selected a powerful theme: “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health.” As we reflect on the ICN’s call to protect, support, and invest in nurses around the world, we’re sharing five facts about nursing to get the conversation started.

1) Nurses are the backbone of healthcare

Nurse with patient in Zambia_April2022

The global workforce of nurses and midwives rounds out to roughly 27 million. Together, these individuals make up 50% of the global health workforce.

Across the five countries we serve, nurses are critical to our mission. They represent hope, offer a source of comfort, and are role models for the people they serve.

2) Shortages in nursing mean critical gaps in access

Volunteer Susan leads training in Kenya_April2022

Despite the valuable contributions of those 27 million nurses and midwives, we still face a global shortage of health workers. By 2030, the world may be in need of 9 million nurses and midwives. This is just one of the many reasons volunteers remain essential to our mission. We send nurse volunteers out to the field to not only care, but train and inspire the next generation of health workers.

3) When we invest in nurses, we invest in improved health outcomes

Nurse with newborn in Kenya_April2022

The impact of investing in the health and social sectors, specifically in jobs and education, is triple in return when it comes to improved health outcomes, global health security, and inclusive economic growth.

4) During the height of COVID-19, nurses selflessly stepped up

Nurse with family in Peru_2022

Nursing is a demanding field, especially in low-income settings where resources and staff are spread thin. But during the pandemic, health workers served amid unimaginable circumstances. This reality triggered conversations regarding the importance of mental health initiatives benefiting healthcare workers. In partnership with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare experts around the world, CMMB launched a volunteer-led effort to equip teams on the ground with the skills to build resilience, cope with grief, and care for self and others.

5) Women lead the workforceNurse in Zambia caring for an expecting mother_April2022

Women account for 70% of the health and social workforce around the world. In the communities we work with, we’re proud to see empowered women dedicated to providing care to their communities. As role models and leaders, they support mothers visiting health facilities by engaging them in health education and the importance of seeking care for themselves and their families. Together, they’re encouraging healthy behaviors for generations to come.

*Data and statistics sourced from the WHO’s key facts on nurses and midwifery.

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