World Health Organization on Nursing Discussion

World Health Organization on Nursing Discussion

Explore the position of the World Health Organization on nursing’s potential contribution to the world’s health care needs. What are it’s views on advanced practice nursing? How has the WHO promoted and/or hindered the global progress of advanced practice nursing?

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Founded in 1948, The World Health Organization (WHO) is an agency of the United Nations whose primary function is to attain the highest level of health for all people everywhere (Who, 2022). Since the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948, nursing development has held a prominent status within the organization. From its earliest years the WHO has made consistent attempts to scale up and expand the role of nursing.

Within two years of its inception, nurses comprised one fifth of the WHOs field personnel (Nursing, 2017 p. 4). The WHO recognizes nurses and APRNs as the cornerstone of the healthcare industry and as the backbone of primary care health systems. According to the WHO, nurses deliver 90% of primary health care internationally (William, 2020).


The early years of the organization made use of nurses mainly at the local community and rural level(Who, 2022). Still, the WHO consistently pushed for the progression of the field of nursing. They created expert nursing committees, called for the creation of global definitions in nursing roles and global education standards, encouraged stakeholders around the world to make major investments in attracting nursing students and professors to the field (Nursing, 2017 p. 9). In the 1960’s the WHO helped elevate the stature and change attitudes towards nurses by urging governments to set up divisions of nursing and appoint chief nursing officers (Nursing, 2017, p. 12).

This was intended to raise education and practice standards but also raised recognition of nurses as professionals. In addition to specialization the WHO encouraged upward expansion and in 1961 made a public call for nurses in leadership. Health Organization on Nursing WHO Director General, Dr. Halfdan Mahler stated If the millions of nurses in a thousand different places articulate the same ideas and convictions about primary health care, and come together as one force, then they could act as a powerhouse for change (Nursing, 2017, p. 25).

As the organization has grown and modernized it has taken on a broader and a more global community perspective when assessing nursing. Particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic WHO has put a spotlight on nursing and deemed 2020 The Year of the Nurse (William, 2020). As the organization looks to the future it remains committed to the improvement and advancement of nursing. In their report, State of the World Nursing 2020, the focus moving forward remains on patient-safety based education, recruitment into the field of nursing and role expansion that allows nurses and advanced practice nurses to practice at the top of their license (State, 2020).


The WHO is the world’s greatest wellness initiative and a proponent for nurses since its formation. A global agency with vast reach such as the WHO has the ability to make breakthroughs in some of the biggest issues in nursing. Unifying a global language and role definition for advanced practice nurses could propel the field of nursing to new heights and finally bring healthcare to all.

World Health Organization on Nursing Discussion

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