On the 7th of April, The World Health Organization (WHO) published the report on State of the World’s Nursing 2020 which provides the first-ever detailed analysis of nursing across the globe with contributions from more than 190 countries. The release of the report was planned by WHO to coincide with the 2020 International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

The WHO report describes how the nursing workforce is helping to deliver Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and highlight areas for policy development for the next three to five years. It also provides a technical description of the nursing workforce in Member States, including the number and types of nurses, education, regulation, practice, leadership, and gender issues.

Written by the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Nursing Now, the report placed the global nurse headcount at 28 million, with a shortage of 5.9 million.

Speaking during a press conference to mark the release, British nurse peer and co-chair of the report, Baroness Mary Watkins, declared that this was the “most comprehensive set of data that we have ever had about the state of the world’s nursing “. She warned that the project had shown “very clearly that we do not have enough nurses to meet the challenge of the [sustainable development goal] of ‘health for all’ by 2030”.

In order to turn the tide, at least 6 million new nursing jobs needed to be created by 2030, as well as action to boost capacity in nurse education programmes and to strengthen nurse leadership.

The full report is available here