‘Year of the Nurse and Midwife’ Highlights Trusted Profession

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DES MOINES, Iowa –The World Health Organization declared 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife to celebrate the profession. A local health organization is marking its past, present, and future.

You can tell Curtis Johnson loves his job. “I love what I do because of surgery, in getting to watch people come in sick and leave healthy."

He's a Registered Nurse on North 6 of Methodist Medical Center, but on a recent Tuesday, he spent time in UnityPoint Health Des Moines’ Simulation Hospital. "We get to practice codes here, even aggression that protects us as nurses at the bedside. This lab is really my second home in the last year, and I have learned a lot here."

The SIM Lab provides continuing education as mannequins simulate situations and nurse leaders watch behind the scenes.

Chief Nurse Executive Deb Moyer said, "In a hospital setting, what patients come here for is nursing care. Nurses are here 24/7, they're vigilant, they're advocates, they're making sure they're safe. They're technicians, they're scientists. They're constantly improving."

Moyer has been with UnityPoint Health Des Moines for 42 years. She's seen many changes in her profession including an effort to protect nurses. "I think back to my original start in the operating room, and at that time there weren't such things as protecting employees against blood-borne disease, and now our new nurses wouldn't think twice about doing anything without protecting themselves with gloves or a gown," she said.

She's excited the World Health Organization named this The Year of the Nurse and Midwife. "Especially this year that I'm going to retire, but because I'm just such an advocate for nursing as a profession. It's a good profession. It's a good career, and it's the best thing you can do taking care of human beings and just being with them has been so rewarding for me," said Moyer.

The focus of this year will be to celebrate the progress in the nursing profession and where it's headed. "WHO has actually put out a projected number needed for nurse-midwives and nurses. They said within the next 10 years, so 2030, they project that the need will increase to about nine million more nurses and nurse-midwives."

It's a calling Johnson answered, as he continues to grow his skills. "Nursing is one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it is the most rewarding, and I would not change a thing about it," he said.

UnityPoint Health Des Moines will celebrate The Year of the Nurse and Midwife throughout the year with special events, including a look at how the nurse's uniform has changed through the years.

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