International Council of Nurses 25th Quadrennial Congress
“Equity and Access to Health Care”
Report of ICN Rural and Remote Network meeting May 20, 2013
The 25th Quadrennial Congress of ICN was held in Melbourne, Australia in May 2013 and the program of the Congress was very varied and informative and was centred on the theme “Equity and Access to Health Care”. The information about the Congress, speaker’s presentations, abstracts and listing of posters is all available on the ICN website at www.icn.ch. Plenary speakers of note included Michel Kazatchkine – the United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS - focusing on the access issues for HIV/AIDS in and Leslie Mancuso – President of Jhpiego – offering a stirring presentation on “Holding Up Half the Sky – a perspective on the role of women in the provision of health care.
The Quadrennial Congress is another opportunity for a regular networking session for the ICN Rural and Remote Nursing Network. This meeting was held on May 20, 2013. There were over 100 nurses in attendance and the session consisted of presentations from two dynamic guest speakers (Marianne Baernholdt from USA and Christopher Cliffe from Australia) providing presentations on Rural Residency Programs for nurses and CRANAplus – a support centre for rural and remote nurses. The learning objectives for the session in Melbourne included:
- Understand key issues related to the role of nurses working in rural and remote areas
- Gain insights to mechanisms being put in place to support nurses working in rural and remote settings.
- Identify way of contributing to the work of the Network.
An update on the work of the Network was also included in the session. The interest in the network was very encouraging and similarities of the work of nurses in rural and remote areas across the world was astonishing. One example was the opportunity to hear of the challenges of Australian nurses providing care to indigenous people in the remote outback was strikingly similar to the work of Canadian nurses in the First Nations and Inuit communities in northern Canada. Conversations that occurred in the Open Forum during the Network meeting included:
- Educational opportunities of nurses in rural and remote nursing
- Request for an easily organized way to access resources on the ICN webpage
- Telehealth linkages for rural and remote nurses
- Connections for researchers who are focusing in the area of rural and remote areas
- Support for students who choose rural and remote as an area for clinical practice
The ICN Congress is an opportunity to contemplate the contribution of each of us in the global community of nursing and realize that nursing is important work – not just in our community or country but in places near and far. The next ICN Conference will be in 2015 in Seoul, South Korea and the next Congress will be in Barcelona Spain in 2017– there will be rural and remote network sessions at each of these meetings so start making your plans!