Nurse talking with a colleague or patient

RCN highlights nursing role in achieving sustainable development goals

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has released a new report which highlights the complex and varied role that nursing staff play in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The RCN report - titled Leaving No-One Behind - was released on World Health Day, on April 7, 2021.

In the report, the RCN picks up on the role nursing staff have in connecting with many communities and individuals and building trust with the general public. This allows our healthcare organisations to deliver better services and outcomes to those who need it, as well as affecting wider social change - key goals of the SDGs.

In 2015, UN member states agreed on 17 SDGs to help shape their direction forward. These included targets relating to health, education and climate change among others.

Within the RCN report, the efforts of individual members working across the UK to achieve these goals is highlighted, with nursing staff taking steps to minimise waste products, strengthen mental health and young people’s support, highlight the role of inequality in health outcomes and improve experiences for those from BAME backgrounds accessing services.

RCN President Dame Professor Anne Marie Rafferty said: “Throughout the pandemic nursing and midwifery staff around the world have risen to unimaginable challenges and demonstrated skill, expertise, professionalism and extraordinary commitment to putting patients first.

“It has demonstrated the significant contributions nurses and midwives are making to tackling some of the most difficult challenges and injustices facing our communities, including poverty, inequality and climate change.

“This report highlights just some examples of how nurses and midwives are contributing to the SDGs in the UK. The SDGs are a powerful tool for us to advocate for our patients and communities, and a mechanism through which we can demonstrate our impact.

“Health – and wider – inequalities are being exacerbated by the pandemic in the UK and across the world. Concerted and sustained action is needed by governments, stakeholders, and individuals to achieve the SDGs within the decade.”

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