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The new theme for International Nurses Day 2021 recognises the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the health system and nursing profession and how they could be affected in the future.

Announced recently by the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the theme for International Nurses Day 2021 follows on from previous years, with the overarching theme Nurses: A Voice to Lead, and the sub-theme for 2021 A Vision for Future Healthcare.

Each year, ICN leads the global celebrations for International Nurses Day, which is held on 12 May, the anniversary of the birth of nursing trailblazer Florence Nightingale.

ICN says the global COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world the important role nurses play in keeping people healthy across the lifespan. While there has been significant disruption to healthcare, they also suggest there has been great innovation that has improved access to care.

In 2021, ICN will focus on the changes to and innovations in nursing and how they will ultimately shape the future of healthcare. As the largest healthcare profession, nurses should play an integral part in planning the future of healthcare.

ICN CEO Howard Catton said the pandemic had exposed the weaknesses in many of the world’s health systems, the enormous pressure nurses are working under, and shone the light on their incredible commitment and courage.

“What the pandemic has also done is given us the opportunity to call for a reset and the opportunity to explore new models of care where nurses are at the centre of our health systems,” he added.

“We can only achieve this vision of future healthcare by generating new policies that pave the way for this sea-change, and that is another key area IND2021 will seek to focus.”

Each year, ICN produces a range of resources to inform the public and support nurses, including a report, case studies, posters, videos and interviews. ICN is calling on nurses to share their stories in the form of a case study to be part of IND2021.

Guidelines and templates on how to submit a case study can be found here.

Case study submissions and any questions should be sent to

Previous case studies can be found at