ICN launches IND 2024 report focusing on The Economic Power of Care and nurses’ crucial role in creating prosperity for all

8 May 2024
IND 2024 report cover

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is today launching this year’s International Nurses Day report focusing on The Economic Power of Care, ahead of global celebrations on May 12.

The report brings together evidence from economists and other renowned experts from across the world, showing the contribution nurses and nursing can make to global economic growth, with an adequate level of investment.

The report finds that poor health costs the global economy 15% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the authors make the link between poor health and inadequate healthcare, and economic prosperity.

ICN President Dr Pamela Cipriano said: “Ahead of International Nurses Day this year, our report focuses on the economic benefits of having more nurses for the whole global economy. We know that healthier people are more engaged and more economically productive, but millions of people lack access to the essential health care that they need, most of which is delivered by registered nurses.

‘Effective Universal Health Coverage (UHC) could save 60 million lives and add 3.7 years to average life expectancy by 2030, but achieving it requires a massive increase of investment in the nursing workforce. Nurses are the drivers of Primary Health Care (PHC) which has been recognized by the United Nations as the catalyst for reaching the UHC2030 goals. The report reveals that if countries are to achieve the higher 80 indicator out of 100 thresholds of UHC, they will have to increase the size of their nursing workforces so that they have 70 nurses for every 10,000 of their population.

‘What governments must recognize is that such investment in nursing is not a cost: investing in health care saves money, and our experts say having a healthy population could boost global GDP by USD 12 trillion or 8%.”

In recent weeks, ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton has been hearing from nurse leaders from around the world who say that instead of investing in the nursing workforce, governments are looking for short-term fixes. Speaking today, during a visit to the Danish Nurses Association, Mr Catton said:

“Faced with the global shortage of nurses instead of investing in the current nursing workforce we are seeing too many governments choosing short-term and cost reduction driven policies, such as international recruitment, creating new non-registered nurse roles and looking to reduce the length of nurse education. These are the wrong choices, taking us in the wrong direction, and seriously risk putting people off joining the profession and seeing more of our experienced nurses quit or leave earlier than they would have done.’

‘In its work with international organizations, such as the World Economic Forum, ICN has seen a growing recognition that investment in nursing is an accelerator not a brake on economic growth, and a priceless investment for global health.”

  • IND is celebrated around the world every May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. ICN commemorates this important day each year with the production and distribution of the International Nurses' Day (IND) resources and evidence.