World Health Day Celebrates Nurses & Midwives

They take your blood pressure at the Dr.’s office, ease your anxieties before surgery, help care for an aging grandparent in hospice, and take care of your every need while you lie in a hospital bed. They teach calming techniques, labor meditation, and help women tap into their incredible feminine energy—the reasons to thank nurses and midwives are endless.

And in honor of World Health Day 2020, we’re sharing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) year-long commitment to celebrate and advocate for nurses and midwives across the globe. The World Health Assembly has designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife for good reason. Nurses and midwives are critical to frontline healthcare in their communities. They are committed to persevere through the unique challenges in their field.

To recognize these everyday heroes, WHO is launching the first-ever State of the World’s Nursing Report. It will provide a global picture of the workforce who will set the precedent for data collection, policy dialogue, research, investment, and advocacy for the global nursing field. A similar report will be launching for the midwifery workforce in 2021.

Universal health coverage, by WHO’s calculations, will require nine million more nurses and midwives to head into the field in the next decade. That’s a lot of new nursing students. So, with the hope of igniting passion in healthcare, USANA is highlighting the important work of the dedicated people in the nursing and midwifery industry.

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Scrub In and Thank a Nurse

It takes a special kind of person to go into the medical field—especially nursing. This side of healthcare isn’t as prestigious as becoming a surgeon or specialized medical doctor. It requires intense schooling and countless hours of clinical studies before you’re pinned as an RN, CNA, or PAC. You go into nursing if you love helping people, are compassionate, and extremely intelligent. You become a nurse to make a difference, despite the long hours, hard-to-swallow situations, and difficult patients.

A Day in the Life of a Nurse

• Nurses complete about 73 tasks every hour they’re on the clock.

• They go through hundreds of syringes, masks, gloves, swabs, and hygiene caps to keep patients safe.

• Nurses walk an average of four miles through hospital halls each 12-hour shift.

• Their essentials: scrubs, orthotic shoes, hair ties, stethoscope, note pad, and plenty of patience.

• Nurses have memorized 206 bones, over 250 medicines, and are expert problem solvers.

Space for Advocacy:

We interviewed a group of nurses, and here’s what they wish others knew about their biggest challenges:

• Burnout is real. Especially in such a high-stress, high-demand industry like nursing. There’s a need for resources and education to help nurses learn and implement methods to help them cope with work-stressors.

• Proper staffing for the acuity of patients, rather than just the number is essential.

• Lack of sleep, compartmentalized work and home life, and overall emotional and physical exhaustion are challenges nurses must combat every day.

The consensus was the same across the board. And yet these nurses continue to show up day and night because they get such joy seeing their patients grow, heal, and be strengthened, both physically and mentally. Nurses know they can help patients see hope, no matter how dark or difficult their circumstances.

Celebrating New Life and Midwives

Midwives were one of the first caregivers in history. New life is a wholly natural and beautiful process, and choosing a midwife for your pregnancy means you’re connecting with an expert in the entire birthing process.

Midwives encourage women to embrace their body’s natural power to give birth. They won’t restrain your birth plan and are there to let you embrace labor as naturally as you wish.

A Day in the Life of a Midwife

• Midwives are accredited, certified, and licensed as either certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) or certified midwives (CNs).

• Some midwives work in birthing centers, some come to your home, and others work in hospitals.

• No matter where you deliver, a midwife has proper medical supplies—surgical instruments, sutures, IV sets, gloves, cord clamps, and more—just like you’d see in the labor and delivery rooms of a hospital.

• In the U.S., about 5 percent of births are attended by a midwife, while in the UK this number is around 75 percent.

• Midwives are fierce advocates for women’s rights and bodily autonomy.

Space for Advocacy:

• Rural areas need more midwives in the field compared to big, bustling cities. At smaller clinics, hospitals, and birthing centers, midwives work extraneous hours due to a lack of staffing—sometimes shifts are as long as 20 hours.

• Childbirth mortality rates are still too high around the world, and midwifery is essential to help reduce these numbers and save the lives of mothers and infants.

• In some developing countries, midwives don’t have the supplies they need to make sure childbirth is entirely sterile and safe for mother and child. Thankfully, organizations like Direct Relief offer midwife kits, with over 59 essential medical items endorsed by the International Confederation of Midwives.

• A global lack of understanding of just how knowledgeable and necessary midwifery is makes it harder for these essential caregivers to get funding, representation, and crucial advocacy in many areas.

How You Can Support Nurses and Midwives

WHO and USANA invite you to get involved for Health Day 2020 by rallying together to support nurses and midwives locally and around the world:

• Show them how much your community appreciates their work. Write cards, make posters, or craft gifts and take them to your local healthcare facilities.

• Host a meet and greet with local nurses and midwives to let them share stories of their work and educate others on how they can be an advocate for healthcare workers.

• Ask your local and national healthcare leaders to promote the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in their speeches, on social media, websites, television, and radio interviews. Don’t be afraid to ask what your leaders are doing to make sure nurses and midwives have the funding and facilities to do their vital work.

• Approach local artists to create artwork for health workers that celebrates nurses and midwives.

• Share on social using #SupportNursesAndMidwives #Nurses2020 and #Midwives2020. Highlight friends and family in your life who are nurses or midwives. Share their stories and help advocate for their needs.   

Thank You, Nurses and Midwives

With the current health crisis spreading around the world right now, USANA employees want to share our deep appreciation for all the extra hours that nurses everywhere are spending on front lines each day. In an uncertain world, we know healthcare workers like you are vital. Thank you from all of us at USANA.

No matter the current health climate across the globe, medical workers are vital to each and every one of us. Nurses ease our troubles with their compassionate interactions, whether we’re at a routine doctor’s visit, in an emergency clinic, or in a prolonged stay in a hospital wing. They spend their lives caring for patients’ smallest needs with apt medical knowledge and a warm, calming demeanor. Midwives are the caregivers of the womb, helping to bring babies into the world, and giving strength and support to couples stepping into parenthood. These healthcare workers are often underrepresented or under thanked. But because of movements like this one for World Health Day 2020, that’s about to change.

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