Today is International Nurses Day with the theme of our nurses, our future.

Nurses are at the frontline of health and approximately 74% of the Pacific healthcare workforce are nurses and the majority of health services are delivered by them.

Pacific health leaders have recognised the importance of strengthening the health workforce. This was a key agenda item at the 14th Pacific Heads of Health Meeting that convened on the 25-27 April in Nadi, Fiji.

While Pacific nurses make up more than two-thirds of the healthcare-regulated workforce, many qualified nurses are leaving. The Pacific Community (SPC) works in the region with Pacific Island countries and territories to identify the gaps and with funding support from implementing partners, supports nursing activities to strengthen nursing services.

Silina Waqa, Nursing Adviser for the Public Health Division said that education and workforce are essential pillars within the health systems in strengthening nursing. Together with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), SPC is supporting 14 nurses in the Pacific to undertake the online Graduate Certificate in Perioperative Nursing facilitated by the Australian College of Nursing, with funding from the Australian government.  

Our senior nurses have a wealth of knowledge and experience and through deployments to Tuvalu and Vanuatu they were able to assist the local nursing workforce but also share knowledge and skills as part of capacity development with their counterparts”, she said.

SPC remains committed to supporting member countries to strengthen nursing initiatives as it contributes towards achieving universal health coverage for Pacific people.