On this special coronavirus episode of The Nurse Keith Show nursing career podcast, Keith discusses the taxonomy (naming) of viruses (specifically COVID-19); recent news out of New York City; the WHO’s State of the World’s Nursing 2020 Executive Summary; and other news and specific aspects pertaining to the ongoing pandemic response.

                      Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash.com

WHO information about how a virus is named. Here’s the quote I read on the episode:

Viruses, and the diseases they cause, often have different names. For example, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. People often know        the name of a disease, but not the name of the virus that causes it.

There are different processes, and purposes, for naming viruses and diseases.

Viruses are named based on their genetic structure to facilitate the development of diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines.        Virologists and the wider scientific community do this work, so viruses are named by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).

Diseases are named to enable discussion on disease prevention, spread, transmissibility, severity and treatment. Human disease preparedness and response is WHO’s role, so diseases are officially named by WHO in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

ICTV announced “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” as the name of the new virus on 11 February 2020. This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003. While related, the two viruses are different.

WHO announced “COVID-19” as the name of this new disease on 11 February 2020, following guidelines previously developed with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Recommended evidence-based podcasts: 

More resources from this episode: 

Facts from the WHO Report:

  • Nursing accounts for 59% of the worldwide health professions workforce.
  • There are 27.9 million nursing personnel: 19.3 million (69%) are professional nurses, 6 million (22%) are associate professional nurses and 2.6 million (9%) are not classified.
  • Over 80% of the world’s nurses are found in countries that account for half of the world’s population.
  • The global shortage of nurses was 5.9 million nurses in 2018. With 5.3 million (89%) of this shortage concentrated in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Globally, the nursing workforce is relatively young, with substantially older age nurses in the American and European regions.
  • The majority (97%) of countries reported that the minimum duration of nurse education is a three-year program.
  • Seventy-eight countries (53%) reported having advanced practice roles for nurses.
  • One nurse out of every 8 practices in a country other than the one where they were born or educated.
  • Most countries (86%) report having a designated body responsible for the regulation of nursing.
  • Approximately 90% of nursing workforce is female.
  • Seventy-one percent of countries (82 out of 115) reported having a national nursing leadership position with responsibility for providing input into nursing and health policy.

The report authors urge governments and relevant stakeholders to:

  • Invest in the massive acceleration of nursing education – faculty, infrastructure and students – to address global needs, meet domestic demand, and respond to changing technologies and advancing model of integrated health and social care.
  • Countries affected by shortages will need to increase funding to educate and employee at least 5.9 million additional nurses.
  • To address the shortage of nurses by 2030 in countries, the total number of nurse graduates would need to increase by 8% per year on average, alongside an improved capacity to employ and retain these graduates.
  • Nurse education and training programs must graduate nurses who drive progress into primary health care and universal health coverage.
  • Create at least 6 million new nursing jobs by 2030, primarily in low- and middle-income countries, to offset the projected shortages and redress the inequitable distribution of nurses across the world.
  • Nurse mobility and migration must be effectively monitored and responsibly and ethically managed.
  • Policymakers, employers and regulators should coordinate actions in support of decent work.
  • Countries should deliberately plan for gender-sensitive nursing workforce policies.
  • Strengthen nurse leadership- both current and future leaders – to ensure that nurses have an influential role in health policy formulation and decision-making and contribute to the effectiveness of health and social care systems.
  • Nursing leadership and governance is critical to nursing workforce strengthening.
  • Planners and regulators should optimize the contributions of nursing practice.
  • Professional nursing regulation must be modernized.
  • Collaboration is key to strengthen capacity for effective public policy stewardship so that private sector investments, educational capacity and nurses’ roles in health service provision can be optimized and aligned to public policy goals.

Incredible Health, the leading health care hiring platform in the U.S., announced a first-of-its-kind free online continuing education program available to all nurses in the United States. Incredible Health’s hiring service is already free to nurses. Today they’re solving a pain point for millions of nurses who are required to take continuing education courses in order to obtain or renew their license. Incredible Health will give away up to $240M annually in education value in support of U.S. nurses. All courses are accredited by The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Guam. Ensuring that our nation’s nurses are easily trained and licensed will help the country address our large and growing shortage of nurses in hospitals from coast to coast.


DISCLAIMER: In these episodes regarding COVID-19, I reference the most up-to-date information I can, as well as adding personal opinions and reflections from me and my guests. Please note that the situation is changing by the moment, and any information shared in the course of any episode may not apply once new data or evidence emerges. Please also note that nothing shared in the course of any Nurse Keith Coaching COVID-19 podcast is intended for diagnosis or treatment; please consult your healthcare provider, your local Department of Health, the CDC, the WHO, or other reputable evidence-based sources. 

If you hear or read something I have shared that appears to be erroneous, if you can, please send an email me directly at keith@nursekeith.com. Thank you for understanding, stay safe, and keep informed.


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Nurse KeithIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at NurseKeith.com.
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