2010 International Year of the Nurse:
An Interview to Help You Get Inspired, Get Involved and Change the World!
by Rebecca Cohen, RN, EdD, HN-BC; AHNA eNews Editor

In 2010, AHNA supported a very important initiative for all nurses – an initiative that was started by two of our very own holistic nurses: Deva-Marie Beck and Barbara Dossey of the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH)*  I recently interviewed these visionary women about their most recent project, The 2010 International Year of the Nurse (2010 IYNurse). This project, one of many grassroots nurse-inspired movements initiated by NIGH, is a year-long public awareness initiative to involve the world’s nurses in celebrating their commitment to bringing health to communities locally and worldwide.  Read more about NIGH’s projects.

The purpose of 2010IYNurse is to: 1) recognize the 8 U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); 2) honor the contributions of nurses globally; and 3) engage nurses in the promotion of world health.

You might ask:  “But how am I a part of this?? I’m just a nurse – I don’t know the first thing about the United Nations or developing global health.” However, after talking to Barbara and Deva, it became very apparent to me that holistic nurses are ALREADY involved. They suggest that you begin by asking yourself, “What are the contributions I am already making to achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals?” For example, if you are working with children at all, you are working on Goal 4 (reduce child mortality). If you are helping a child read what they need to know to be healthy, you are working on Goal 2 (achieve universal primary education). If you are helping people have a roof over their heads or find ways to pay for their health care, you’re working on Goal 1 (eradicate extreme hunger and poverty). And, if you recycle from your own garbage, you are working on Goal 7 (ensure environmental sustainability).

At first, most people will say “ah, that’s too broad. I can’t possibly make a global impact in what I am doing”. Yet, everything that you do impacts the world and this is such a great way to bring it home and motivate nurses to show them that they are already working towards these goals. And, it is a way for humanity to say, “We CARE about each other. We CARE about a healthy world. We ARE doing something right now as we speak and we ARE building global consciousness.”
Nurses ARE making a difference now, even if we don’t recognize it. How can others recognize our contributions if we don’t recognize them ourselves? We need to have our voices heard, and advocate for what we would like to see in the world. When we can see our value, our contributions, others will also see. This is an especially important concept worldwide where nursing shortages are common, nurses are often not viewed with respect, and women and children are dying. They need us to help speak for them. As holistic nurses, we are a strong presence in the community and we have a chance to help the world see how we contribute to its health and vitality. When we change as nurses and empower ourselves, we are really adding an energy to the empowerment of all people, including women (Goal 3), worldwide.

You will find that the 2010IYNurse web site has lots of information to help you celebrate and plan activities. It includes a media toolkit, ideas for getting involved globally and in your own community, and an event calendar. In addition, the site gives you the opportunity to submit your own story about what you are doing to celebrate, and you can offer suggestions to other nurses as to how they might get involved.        

Finally, if you have time to travel, or live near Washington, DC., you can join your fellow nurses in celebrating the 2010 IYNurse at the Commemorative Global Service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  Click to learn more

*Other AHNA members (active or former) Eleanor Kibrick, MSc, NIGH Director, Program Development; Wayne Kines, DTM, NIGH Director, Global Communications; and NIGH International Board Advisors: Jean Watson, RN, PhD, FAAN, AHN-BC; Yinong Chong, PhD; Louise Selanders RN, EdD, FAAN and JoEllen Koerner RN, PhD, FAAN.

About our Interviewees

Deva-Marie Beck, PhD, RN, Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH) Co-Director, is a Florence Nightingale scholar, nurse, author, multi-media specialist and global ambassador for the worldwide nursing community. During more than 30 years of clinical nursing experience, she has practiced in a wide variety of home care and critical care clinical settings in many parts of the world. Dr. Beck currently lives and works in Ottawa, Canada, and has networked for nursing and transdisciplinary health promotion issues throughout the world. She has written numerous articles and textbook chapters, including being co-author of Florence Nightingale Today: Healing, Leadership, Global Action (2005) with Barbara Dossey.

Barbara M. Dossey, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN: Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH) Co-Director and Director, Holistic Nursing Consultants, is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the holistic nursing movement. She is Director of Holistic Nursing Consultants in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has authored or co-authored 23 books, is a Florence Nightingale scholar, and has been honored with many awards, both national and international. She is exploring the impact of Florence Nightingale’s life and work on modern nursing and humankind and is the world's foremost living nurse biographer of Florence Nightingale. As an internationally recognized pioneer in the holistic nursing movement, she works to advance the practice and philosophies of holistic care, both within the health professions and in the lives of lay people. 

Both Dr. Dossey and Dr. Beck have worked to articulate how healing is promoted by attending to the interaction of body, mind and spirit. In addition, they have contributed new scholarship on Nightingale's extensive community and global work for health, and shown how her legacy can inform and empower nurses in the 21st century as they care for patients. Dr. Dossey and Dr. Beck have represented NIGH in global nursing leadership conferences convened by the World Health Organization and the United Nations.


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