Background to the Year of the Nurse and Midwife

Why is 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) designated 2020 as International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife (YONM) to celebrate the vital contribution that 22 million nurses and two million midwives make in providing better healthcare all over the world.

The year is an especially significant one here in the UK as it coincides with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale – a colossal figure in history who laid the foundations for nursing to become the professional occupation we know today.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has impacted on our plans to celebrate this momentous year and we are grateful to the WHO for recognising this by extending the celebrations into 2021.

If anything, however, the pandemic has only served to further underline the importance of the work of our nurses and midwives, both in 2020 and over centuries gone by. And while there is no substitute for physically getting together to celebrate, we hope that this virtual alternative goes some way to ensuring that the occasion is appropriately marked.