Dr Emily McWhirter
Nurse Consultant, World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is calling for investment in the health workforce to ensure patients receive safe and high-quality evidence-based care.
Nurses and midwives in health care settings around the world are responsible for the safe administration of medicines to patients. They are also responsible for monitoring patients’ wellbeing, vital signs and changes in clinical condition.
To provide high-quality evidence-based and safe patient care, nurses must have up-to-date knowledge of the issues surrounding antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and must take action to address this global health threat.
AMR and the risks it poses to global health should be part of all nurse pre-service training curricula and embedded into in-service training and development programmes at all stages – from student nurse or midwife to senior nurse or midwife leader.
Nurses and midwives must be empowered to work alongside doctors, pharmacists and all members of the multi-disciplinary team involved in the planning of a patients’ clinical care.
Nurses and midwives as leaders
Nurses and midwives must be empowered to work alongside doctors, pharmacists and all members of the multi-disciplinary team involved in the planning of a patients’ clinical care in order to ensure that patients receive appropriate, timely and needed antimicrobial treatment. They play a critical role in the development of guidelines for standardised assessment processes and by working with colleagues across all clinical disciplines are essential to co-ordinate and lead on data collection, monitoring and best practice initiatives.
Investment in a well-trained health workforce
Nurses and midwives are able to lead programmes of change within their own working environment in order to provide policies and protocols for safe medicines management.
The WHO Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery, 2021-2025, endorsed at the 74th World Health Assembly in May 2021 promotes investment in leadership skills development for midwives and nurses, highlights policy actions urgently needed to establish and strengthen senior leadership positions for nursing and midwifery, workforce governance and management as well as contributing to into health policy formulation.
Nurses and midwives are well placed to be responsible for successful quality improvement programmes to establish local guidance for safe antimicrobial prescribing practice. Opportunities exist for nurses to take on advanced roles becoming clinical specialists, lead teams and supervise and mentor within their workplace. Senior nursing and midwifery leaders should encourage and ensure nurses and midwives can develop competencies in speciality areas and become experts in advanced practice.
Globally the WHO is calling for countries to invest in their health workforce to ensure that patients receive safe, high-quality evidence-based and timely care where and when they need it.