Nurses’ holistic view of their role and responsibility in the health care system and their knowledge, based on research and experience is invaluable to the evolution of any health care system. For this knowledge to affect the provision of health care it must reach the policy makers, and health policy must reflect the knowledge generated by research and experience. It therefore calls for nurses’ active participation in political action and policy development, either as policy makers themselves or in cooperation with policy makers.
Why a Nurse Politician Network?
The following issues have been identified with regards to status of women and nurses politicians worldwide:
- few women are actively involved today in politics whether appointed or elected at any level – provincial, national, regional. The Nordic countries have the highest number with female representing 40.8% of elected officials. The rest of Europe shows a rate of 17.45%, close to both Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia - with 16.6% and 16.4% respectively while, in the Arab states, the rate stands at 8.8%.
- even fewer nurses are elected. For example, in Iceland and Norway which belong to the country group with the highest rate of women in politics, the nurse representation in the parliament is respectively 3.17%, and 2.95%.
- nurse politicians, like nurses and women everywhere – often shoulder responsibilities of home, family and career. This means juggling personal, family and professional issues with those of their constituents and party.
- Further pressure comes from the health care system and the profession, creating expectations that are sometimes unrealistic.
- As women, nurses share same vulnerabilities to harassment. Moreover their jobs often take them away from families for long periods, creating separation and isolation.
- As nurse politicians these women and men have valuable insights to share with each other, and with nursing more broadly.
For all these reasons, ICN established the NPN given the important role nurse politicians have to play in influencing health and social policy.
What is the purpose of the Network
The ICN Nurse Politician Network (NPN) is designed to serve as a forum for elected and appointed nurse politicians to communicate. As it, NPN is the international link for nurse politicians to exchange information and learn from each other. It can assist in the mentoring of new and/or aspiring nurse politicians.
ICN will beneficiate from the network which represents an access to skilled lobbyists and policymakers who can offer advice and help identify key current and future issues.