The 5 W’s of the Year of the Nurse and Midwife

Brittany Turner, MSN, RN – Blog contributor, Nurse Planner at ONA

If you haven’t heard, 2020 has been dubbed the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization (WHO). Wahoo, we earned it nurses!

You might be thinking, ‘so what?’ While there’s no doubt that nurses and midwives should be praised highly and often, read on to learn about the who, what, when, where, and why behind this well-deserved recognition.


While the WHO is largely responsible for the designation of the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, they are partnered with many other organizations, such as the International Confederation of Midwives, International Council of Nurses, Nursing Now and the United Nations Population Fund in this campaign. The American Nurses Association, various state nurses’ associations, and many nursing specialty organizations are also recognizing the Year of the Nurse. (Talk about a powerhouse of support!)


The Year of the Nurse works to accomplish a few things: celebration, recognition, inspiration, and health promotion. It is also in recognition of the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, for whom we should all be deeply grateful.

When & Where

ANYTIME & ANYWHERE is the PERFECT TIME to celebrate the Year of the Nurse! As January concludes, be thinking of HOW you plan to commemorate this year as a nurse and what you’ll do to celebrate. (Lucky for you, there are some great ideas below to get started).


Nurses are the largest single group of healthcare providers across the world. In some places, nurses might be the only providers of healthcare services. We are important. The work we do is important. People rely on us. Although every nurse has their own individual “whys” for their nursing practice, those few reasons above could be “why” enough all on their own.

So, what are you going to do? Here are some ways to get involved:

  • Join your local nurses association or specialty nursing association and get involved in their events. If the idea of forging your own path for celebration is daunting, join one of these groups and become a part of something much bigger!
  • Did you know ONA held our Inaugural Human Trafficking Awareness Symposium this month? This event was formed after our own members came to us with a vision, and we helped execute it resulting in over 100 nurses receiving education to impact the human trafficking epidemic in our state. Talk about a way to kick off our Year of the Nurse celebrations!
  • Advocate for what you believe in. Do you have a policy at work you’d like to see implemented? Is there something you’ve wanted to learn more about related to your nursing practice? Maybe you want to get involved in the health policy and legislative arena? Go for it!
  • Did you know ONA holds events such as the Legislative Academy and Nurses Day at the Statehouse? ONA partners with those in the community to offer events where nurses can get involved and earn continuing education hours all at the same time.

Challenge Time

Make a plan to get involved:

  • Write a list of 2-3 things you will do to celebrate our profession. Will you attend a conference? Join your professional association? Reach out to your legislator about a nursing issue? (Hint: when you write down your goals, you are more likely to achieve them).

Let’s get to work!  The year is off to a quick start.

Stay tuned to the blog for the rest of our Year of the Nurse posts!