Nursing professionals are at the front lines of service provision and play an important role in care focused on people and communities. In many countries, they act as leaders or key members of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary health teams. They provide a wide range of services at all levels of the health care system. However, there is a shortage of nursing professionals in the Region of the Americas; this shortage is primarily attributable to the emigration of professionals to other regions, different levels of economic development in the countries, precarious employment conditions, human resource policies for health workers including nurses, and lack of professional regulation.

Nurse with child
Fact sheet

Nursing encompasses autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups, and communities, sick or well and in all settings. It includes the promotion of health, the prevention of illness, and the care of ill, disabled and dying people.

Nurses are in the line of action in providing services and play an important role in patient-centered care. In many countries, they are leaders or key players in the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary health teams. They provide a wide range of health services at all levels of the health system.

For countries to achieve the goal of Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage, also named Universal Health, the quality, quantity, and relevance of the nursing workforce must be guaranteed.

What PAHO does

The Directing Council of PAHO/WHO approved resolution entitled "Human Resources for Health: Increasing Access to Qualified Health Workers in Primary Health Care-based Health Systems" (CD52.R13) which urges Member states to encourage reforms in the education of health care professions to support health systems based on primary health care and increase the number of vacancies in training programs relevant to primary health care, including advanced practice nurses.

PAHO/WHO Nursing and Allied Health Personnel is part of the Health System and Services Department, Human Resources for Health Unit, located at PAHO headquarters in Washington, D.C.