A new report suggests there is a global shortage of 5.9 million nurses.
The report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) was published to mark World Health Day on Tuesday.
The 'State of the World’s Nursing' report has also warned that an ageing nursing workforce "threatens the stability" of nursing, particularly in Europe.
While it says high-income countries like Ireland have an "excessive reliance" on international nursing mobility.
The report looked at data on the world’s 27.9 million nurses from 191 countries.
Globally, nurses make up 59% of the healthcare workforce, compared to 32% in Ireland’s public health service.
As in Ireland, over 90% of nurses globally are women.
The report has made a number of recommendations to meet current and future needs.
It is calling for an 8% increase in the number of nursing graduates each year to 2030.
It also says an an expansion of advanced nurse practice and nurse-led units is needed, with more nursing positions being funded globally.
" Stark reminder"
International Council of Nurses President, Annette Kennedy, said: "Every penny invested in nursing raises the well-being of people and families in tangible ways that are clear for everyone to see.
"This report highlights the nursing contribution and confirms that investment in the nursing profession is a benefit to society, not a cost".
WHO Secretary-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, added: "The world needs to learn from COVID-19 that it is essential to invest more in nursing.
"This report is a stark reminder of the unique role nurses play, and a wake-up call to ensure they get the support they need to keep the world healthy."
Martina Harkin Kelly is president of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
She said: "COVID-19 has shown us how vital nursing and midwifery is to global health and well-being.
"Many warnings on staffing were not heeded before this pandemic - we cannot allow a global nursing shortage to hamper our response to future public health emergencies.
"This report must be the basis for immediate action in Ireland and globally to support the retention of nurses."