“Here you are as novices in the noble profession of nursing. It is your ethical obligation to evolve from novices to experts”, said Aida Cruz Mendes, the president of the Nursing School of Coimbra (ESEnfC). These words were delivered to 303 newly graduates at the degree-awarding ceremony that took place on July 20, 2019. At this ceremony, the newly graduates received their diplomas, in a “very significant act for Portugal”, and swore and oath in front of the community.
303 ESEnfC new nurses have successfully completed their degree in July
Aida Cruz Mendes congratulated the newly graduates for having successfully completed this first stage of their academic life and highlighted the “shortage of nurses to meet the health needs of the population”.
According to the president, “In Portugal, the number of nurses per 1,000 inhabitants (6.4) is below the EU-28 average (8.4).”
Citing a study by Lopes, Castro, and Simões (2018), Aida Cruz Mendes stated that “to move closer to the average of OECD countries, we will need an additional 26% of nurses by 2040” and that, in Portugal, “the physician-to-nurse ratio is unbalanced”. According to the same study, this ratio “should increase by 31% in 25 years, increasing from 1.39 in 2014 to 1.82 by 2040”.
In addition, the president noted that “with the autonomy to provide patient-centered nursing care and prepared to work in multidisciplinary teams to offer integral health assistance, nurses have the knowledge and expertise to strengthen the National Health Service and to improve the quality and safety of care delivery”.
Aida Cruz Mendes believes that it is for this reason that “the International Council of Nurses is urging political leaders from around the world to invest in hiring nurses to ensure safe care”. For that same reason, the “World Health Organization confirms 2020 as International Year of Nurse and Midwife”.
The president expects new nurses to fulfil themselves professionally by evolving from “novices to experts, capable of advanced practices, specialists, masters, and PhDs in Nursing”. She also urged students to register in the School’s alumni network so that “as members, ambassadors or mentors, they can contribute to the quality of our education community and the recognition of the value of Nursing”.