International Nurses Day: “Our Nurses. Our Future. The Economic Power Of Care.”

Paula Bennett

To celebrate International Nurses Day, Dr. Paula Bennett, Chief Nurse at Health Innovation Manchester, delves into the essence of this year’s theme: “Our Nurses. Our Future. The economic power of care.” In her insightful blog, Paula illuminates the profound impact nurses have had historically and continue to have in shaping the landscape of healthcare innovation.

Every year we celebrate International Nurses Day on the 12th May – the anniversary of Florence Nightingales’ birth in 1820. The theme of this year’s celebration is Our Nurses. Our Future. The economic power of care.

Florence Nightingale was an early pioneer of the economic power of caring. Through the professionalisation of nursing and the provision of training and education, nurses were able to improve patient care, for example by improving infection prevention in hospitals in turn, reducing costs.

There continues to be overwhelming evidence today of the role of nurses in improving patient outcomes across the lifespan, reducing mortality, reducing rates of hospital-acquired infection, preventing hospital admission, and reducing hospital lengths of stay.

This year’s theme is particularly relevant for health care innovation where nursing has a crucial role to play. Nurses are the largest workforce in the NHS embedded in frontline care delivery in primary, secondary, and community care and therefore a key stakeholder in shaping the design and implementation of health and care innovations.

Nurses have a key role in the prevention agenda and improving the health of their local populations. Understanding the needs of local communities and working with them to develop innovations that are culturally sensitive, reduce inequalities, and improve access for everyone to live healthier, happier lives requires skilled nurse innovators.

In terms of the explosion of digital technologies, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, this requires careful scrutiny to ensure that they are safe, patient-centric, operationally workable, effective, and efficient. Nurses will be pivotal in guiding the development of innovations to realise their fullest potential.

The healthier communities are the far-reaching effects and not just in terms of reducing a reliance on health care services. There is a strong link between health and economic growth, reduced poverty and overall societal well-being. Developing and implementing innovations that solve key problems and meet real needs ensures that the resources necessary for successful innovation are well spent. Nurses must be a key partner in the development of innovation, they understand the health and care landscape and much of their time is spent coordinating care on behalf of patients and their families. Nurses have a deep understanding of the needs of patients and their families and the team work required for successful care delivery.

If we are to harness the fullest potential of innovation in terms of improving health outcomes, lowering overall healthcare costs, improving the performance of health care systems and improving the experience of staff – Nurses involvement is fundamental.

If you’re developing innovation, involve nurses. If you’re a nurse, get involved in innovation.

Back to top