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Calling for Nursing Support Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

There are close to 28 million nurses around the world who comprise a global workforce that delivers about 90 percent of primary healthcare, including frontline response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring their optimal contribution and continued well-being amid the myriad consequences of COVID-19 will increase the potential for measurable and improved health outcomes.

In an editorial published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, researchers, including two from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing), call for rapid policy reform and investment in nurses and nursing in order to leverage the skills of this global workforce. The editorial outlines multisectoral investments to redesign and innovate existing health services, expand nursing scopes of practice, forge supportive regulations and legislation for nurses, and optimize nursing contributions to best meet global public health needs and increase the potential to contain and manage the pandemic and future public health and humanitarian crises.

“The far-reaching consequences of COVID-19 have shown that we need widespread, rapid, and intelligent investment in nursing through informed action that fully leverages the healthcare workforce. Our communities and the health of populations worldwide depend on these urgently needed policy reforms and increased investment in nursing now more than ever,” write the two Penn Nursing authors, William E. Rosa, PhD, MBE, NP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar; and Linda H. Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN, the Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor; Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research; and Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

The recommendations in the editorial are based on a 2018 World Innovation Summit for Health report and include implications for nurses and advanced practice nurses, policy makers, governmental and nongovernmental health partners, and those working in research, clinical practice, and education settings. The editorial, “Rapid Investment in Nursing to Strengthen the Global COVID-19 Response” is available online.

Co-authors of the article include Agnes Binagwaho, MD, M(Ped), PhD, Vice Chancellor of University of Global Health Equity and Paul E. Farmer, MD, PhD, both are from the Harvard Medical School; Howard Catton, MA, BScEcon (Hons) of the International Council of Nurses; Sheila Davis, DNP, ANP-BC, FAAN,  John C. Welch, DNP, MS, CRNA and Viola Karanja, BSN, RN, all of Partners In Health; Elizabeth Iro, MHSc, MBA, RN, RM of the World Health Organization; Judy Khanyola, MSc, RCHN of the University of Global Health Equity; and Patricia J. Moreland, PhD, CPNP, FAAN of Emory University.