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“Nurturing health”: celebrating the role of nurses

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May 12th of each year is a special day for nurses all over the world. as they celebrate the International Nurses Day. This year, the event is even more special as it falls on Florence Nightingale’s, considered to be the founder of the modern nursing profession, birth date. She is responsible for introducing the scientific method to the profession of nursing, paving the way to a whole new era of healthcare. 

In order to celebrate and remember the values of nursing, the Order of Nursing Professions of Turin has organised a large open-air event, a real trade fair in via Roma, the heart of the city. Ivan Bufalo, president of the Order of Nursing Professions in Piedmont, will be introducing the event and talking about the future of the profession. 

The purpose of this event is to sensitise people and institutions on the crucial role nurses play in promoting health and support to patients. Through educational, prevention and training activities, the goal is to highlight the value healthcare professionals bring. 

What are  the future prospects for the nursing profession?

Ivan Bufalo, president of the Order of Nursing Professions in Piedmont, will be introducing the event and talking about the future of the profession

The last few years have seen an increase in the development of nursing specialisations, giving nurses the opportunity to gain more specific skills in various healthcare sectors. This tendency towards specialisation promises a future in which nurses are more and more competent and capable of providing high quality assistance in different and more varied fields. 

« Nurses are fighting to strengthen the bond between professional and patient. On Sunday, we will tell kids about the beauty and usefulness of a profession which deserves to be pursued. Meanwhile, we will sensitise institutions on the need to highlight this profession and professionals», explains Bufalo. 

The intent is to narrate the facets of the non-nurse realm. «Paediatric nurses and paediatric nursing students will also be involved who will explain to families the different care activities or provide information and advice regarding correct lifestyles, the fight against gambling addictions, and new addictions

Nursing between storytelling and new technology

Within the healthcare system, the role of nurses is continuously evolving. New technology and AI is radically changing healthcare as a whole, by introducing new challenges and opportunities for nurses. If, on one side, tech can better the quality and efficiency of treatment, on the other side it will never be able to replace the essential role of human interaction and assistance. «Nurses will, therefore, continue to be essential to guarantee a human and compassionate approach to treating patients. – underscores Bufalo – The profession is calling for more and more specialisation. I imagine careers will evolve on a horizontal axis; so nurses with a general training will handle simpler tasks, whilst those with more expertise and specialisations will handle the more complex assignments», declares the President. 

Nurses also differ depending on the territory they operate in. For example, family and community nurses, a key figure in preventing health issues, work directly on the streets, the homes of people in need, and not in hospitals or clinics. 

The use of cutting-edge technology at work brings a potential improvement to the services provided to citizens. «Nursing assistance is above all a relationship. Made of touch, words, emotions, and feelings. I believe that technology will hardly be able to replace the nurse, precisely because of the specific role of human closeness it exercises towards the patient, – Bufalo continues – Certainly, as a profession, we will have the ability to take advantage of the opportunities offered by this type of innovation. The real question is not where we can go, but where we want to go».

The challenges of the Nursing Profession

In recent years, there has been an increase in collaboration and mutual recognition among various healthcare professions. Bufalo observes greater synergy between doctors and nurses. He highlights the importance of an integrated approach to healthcare. However, there remains concern about the lack of a long-term strategic vision in the healthcare system, especially regarding the shortage of nursing staff.

«It seems to us that there is a lack of strategy regarding the problems affecting healthcare and possible solutions. A prime example is the shortage of nursing staff. In Italy, there is a shortage of 30,000 nurses, including 3500 in Piedmont, – the President states -. Italian universities in the next 10 years will not only be unable to meet the shortage but will also be unable to cope with the number of nurses leaving the profession to retire».

According to Bufalo, organisational models need to be revised so that nurses have their specific scope of activity, namely individual autonomy. «We need to free up nurses. For every 4 nurses present, 1 is performing other activities that are not their responsibility – Bufalo adds -. Furthermore, the phenomenon of nurses exempted from the law is an additional problem due to the risks it poses. We are talking about nurses who can practise in Italy without demonstrating knowledge of the language and therefore their ability to convey information».

Moving forward

The shortage of nursing staff represents a critical challenge. While, technology can offer innovative solutions, effective intervention is essential to make the nursing profession more attractive, including improving salaries and concerted action to address staff shortages. «It is necessary to work on career paths, meritocracy, recognition of skills, as well as on the social aspect and social recognition of nurses. The latter , therefore, cannot be considered and used as a healthcare generalist anymore, but must have its own specific professional connotation. We nurses know very well what ours is, we wonder if society knows it and if politics have acted on it», concludes the President.


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