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We will be short 9 million nurses, globally, by 2030. To-date there are no action plan in the eye care sector to prevent the drain of nurses from our services.
Ophthalmic nurses have never had a global professional community like ophthalmologists, optometrists and other nursing sub-specialists such as midwives. Therefore, they have not been able to exchange ideas, grow or participate in global work like other professionals. Ophthalmic nurses remain working in silos reproducing the same thing and experiencing the same issues (e.g. retirement age workforce in western countries, migrating workforce in lower economic regions of the world).
Note, the UK has an historic organisation called the International Ophthalmic Nursing Association (IONA), but this does not function as a global entity. IONA is an active partner of this global initiative and seeks to review its position and prepare for the future.
Nurses are not active and routine participants in the global, regional or national eye care conversation - and as such they, and our health service suffers as ideas are not shared, issues are not prevented and resources are not maximised.
Nurses (and women - as nursing remains a female dominant profession) have more career choices and as such are not selecting eye care or consider themselves an ophthalmic nurse.
What is the plan?
Bring key global ophthalmic nursing leaders together to discuss and develop a strategy for ophthalmic nursing
Develop a contemporary global ophthalmic nursing group (independent entity) to assist in a range of routine Association activities and representation, plus larger multi-level-complex action strategies. The below provides an idea of some of these areas requiring action - but this will not be confirmed until the Taskforce meet, they provide a guide only.
Young nurse recruitment
Nurse retention in ophthalmology
Participation as members of the eye care team
Provide support and assistance to ophthalmic nurses globally (and those working with ophthalmic nurses)
Examine inter-sector-service support strategies
Develop materials tools to prevent reinvention, e.g. Scopes of practice, recruitment advocacy kits and help shape policy
Who has pledged to join the plan (In conjunction with International Association for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB)?
Centre for Eye Research Australia, Fred Hollows Foundation AU, Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, He Eye Hospital Group, Help Me See, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine & Vision2020 Links Program, ORBIS International, Singapore National Eye Centre, St John Jerusalem Eye Hospital and Vision Aid Overseas.
Ophthalmic Nursing Groups:
Australian Ophthalmic Nurses Association National Council, American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses, Cameroon Ophthalmic Nursing Group, Canadian Ophthalmic Nurses Association, CapSon - Cape Town Ophthalmic Nurses Association, East Ghana Ophthalmic Nursing Group, European Society of Ophthalmic Nurses and Technicians, International Ophthalmic Nursing Association, Pacific Eye Care Society, Philippine Nursing Association, Madagascar Ophthalmic Nursing Group and network, Mexican Institute of Ophthalmology, Nigerian Ophthalmic Nurses Association, Peruvian Ophthalmic Nurses Association (APEO), Spanish Ophthalmic Nursing Association, West African College of Nursing, and key nurses within nations without a formal ophthalmic nursing group including: Barbados, Guyana, Tanzania and Zambia.
How can you participate?
We are appealing for HIFA members to help us spread the word and become involved in this initiative by ophthalmic nursing groups and organisations contacting us directly. By individuals who wish to be put in contact/ link in with or advice on setting up a national organisation.
1. Join your local or regional Ophthalmic Nursing Association or build one
2. If no association - contact us and we will connect you with your nearest network
3. Actively participate/volunteer in your association and place of employment
4. Participate in the global initiative via your Association
5. Share your knowledge
6. Promote ophthalmic nursing as a positive career move
7. Collaborate with other members of the eye care team as a united professional body
1. Encourage staff engagement in professional peer associations
2. Support professional peer associations (e.g. host an event, provide a grant or allocate time in the work day for staff to support association activities)
3. Encourage innovation and creativity amongst staff
4. Expect professionalism from your staff
5. Develop training and career pathways into eye care
6. Plan for succession planning
HIFA profile: Lynne Hadley is currently President of the International Ophthalmic Nurses Association. lynnemhadley AT gmail.com