• Pamela Nelson, RN

Emerging Health Issues, the Nurse's Call to Action

Updated: Mar 12

I first published this small article less than 6 months ago. What a drastic change in our view of world health issues and concerns!


The global boundaries are no longer boundaries for most of the world. What binds and inhibits our society is not our geographic location as much as it the inequity of resources that are available throughout the world. The increasing disparity of limited resources creates a larger divide in our society is widening for the haves and the have nots. Nurses have a unique advantage to impact global health issues because of the interaction required to know the community for which we serve and the healthcare system for which we are a partner. Nurses are the intermediary. In a recent article “Emerging Global Health Issues, the Nurses Role” explained how nurses can impact public policy issues related to global health concerns and problems (Edmonson, McCarthy, & et.al, 2017).

The article highlights fours areas of concern and provides definitions of the problems, addresses potential causes and solutions where nurses can drive change both locally and globally.

The areas that the authors chose to discuss in the article are emerging infectious diseases, human trafficking, maternal-newborn health and disproportion of health workers.

The global health concerns identified occur through a multitude of natural and man-made circumstances.

Natural disasters and global health issues cannot be avoided. We may never be able to fully predict when and where they occur but by utilizing better systems of activation in the wake of disaster nurses can impact the outcome. Edmonson, McCarthy, & et.al suggest that nurses can impact global health issues by building awareness, focused education, activation and infrastructure support (Edmonson, McCarthy, & et.al, 2017).

In summary, for nursing to be the change for global health issues, nurses must be in leadership positions at every level of the healthcare system, and in positions where they have a seat at the table when decisions are being made about funding, policy, infrastructure and allocation of resources. Additionally, our nurse leaders and advocates must also be the intermediary and disseminate the information back to the nurses that will provide the care and support to those most affected by the global health issues.

Edmonson, C., McCarthy, C., Trent-Adams, S., McCain, C., Marshall, J., (January 31, 2017) "Emerging Global Health Issues: A Nurse’s Role" OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 22, No. 1, Manuscript 2.

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