This year is the International Year of Nurses and Midwives, and this year’s World Health Day is dedicated to them. The day aims to showcase the vital role nurses and midwives play in global health care; trigger a wave of appreciation for their hard work; and call for the strengthening of their workforce worldwide.
Part of what makes Cigna an industry leader is the wide team of nurses that personally help and support members.
For World Health Day 2020, we spoke to some of Cigna’s own nurses.
“To me being a nurse means caring about people and society and promoting health and wellbeing.”
“Nurses are typically imagined in a hospital environment; however we are present in a wider scenario, in schools, companies, governments, camps, support groups, and non-governmental organizations.”
Did You Know?
- Nurses and midwives account for almost half of the global health workforce
- 70% of the global health and social workforce are women2
- A strong nursing and midwifery workforce is key to achieving universal health coverage2
“A big challenge is understanding life and death at a young age. Also, addressing critical situations, where time plays a huge role, and combining work shifts with personal life.”
“It’s a challenge having to prove our knowledge and value day by day. Fighting to be part of a board and not only an assistant.”
Nurses and midwives are often the first and only point of health care access in their communities. They are the advocates and innovators of health. They provide essential health services and are a key to achieving the WHO’s goal of health for all by 2030. In fact, about nine million more nurses and midwives are needed to achieve that goal.2 Only if they are shown how much they are valued and are given leadership roles can they help guide and improve health policies.
Strengthening the nursing and midwifery sectors and allowing these health care workers to reach their full potential can have a significant impact on public health. Unfortunately, midwives and nurses are often overworked, undervalued, and under-resourced, and many of them work in very challenging circumstances and trying conditions. This is why it is important to recognize the crucial contribution they make to global health.2
What you can do is thank the nurses and midwives you meet and show your appreciation for their work. Give them a flower or send them a card; it can have a very powerful effect. You can also call on your local leaders to provide more support for the health workers in your community and even develop a petition asking for change.
“I think people still do not totally understand the role nurses play in our society.”
“Generally speaking nurses do not receive enough recognition. They are still facing the perception of being socially and professionally inferior, limited to a caring role.”
“Our work is historically related to charity and this is difficult to change in people's minds. We constantly need to show the added value of our job. It deserves better recognition among society.”
But being a nurse has its highlights as well:
“Being a nurse is an opportunity to be a better person every single day, and in addition it can make someone else feel better too.”
“I joined one of my patients on her trip back to her country because her wish was to die there. After her condition was stable I was in contact with her family until the day of her death. That was when I realized how powerful a nurse can be, and how believing in yourself can make miracles.”
“Now, instead of providing support to a person next to their bed, I am able to support them thousands of miles away and still ensure their needs are covered and their health is in good hands.
Life is not be easy, but if we help each other it can be nicer.”
 World Health Day - Support Nurses and Midwives. WHO. https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2020/04/07/default-calendar/world-health-day. Accessed March 11, 2020.
 Year of the Nurse and the Midwife 2020 Campaign materials. WHO. https://www.who.int/news-room/campaigns/year-of-the-nurse-and-the-midwife-2020/get-involved/campaign-materials. Accessed March 11, 2020.