In all countries across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on health systems and health workers, both in terms of their vital role and the daily problems they face. Individuals, communities, and heads of state have asked more and more from health workers with the expectation that they will not only deal with the pandemic but also the myriad of other health conditions. In many countries, in addition to the great burden of the pandemic, nurses and other health workers faced attacks and violence, lack of protection and training, and unacceptable expectations of workload, all with little compensation, if any. Even before the pandemic began, the nursing workforce faced a shortage of six million nurses. Now is the time for countries to seize the political and moral energy provided by the pandemic to transform the health system, invest in the nursing profession and respect rights to secure global health.