ICN’s role in regulation includes:
- Convening regular international meetings of National Nurses Association leaders, government Chief Nurses, and national nursing regulatory authorities to address key issues in regulation.
- Monitoring and analysing nursing regulation and regulatory forces and trends worldwide.
- Providing regular opportunities for interaction among individuals, groups and organisations who have an interest in or are responsible for regulating nursing. (e.g. conferences, network and web based activities)
- Providing national nurses associations and others with the tools (e.g. information, guidelines, international standards, competencies and frameworks) to enable them to remain up-to-date on regulatory matters
- Providing nursing and other key stakeholders with advice and consultation to undertake reforms and to respond to changes having an impact on professional regulation.
- Liaising with international institutions addressing issues of regulation.
- Influencing/negotiating regulatory reform in the best interest of the public and the profession.
- Establishing accreditation, certification and endorsement services in selected areas.
- Collaborating with other groups and interested parties on regulatory activities and issues of common interest.
- Setting directions for the ongoing development of nursing regulation worldwide.
- Promoting data collection in order to provide an evidence base for regulatory policies and practices.
Areas of Focus
ICN has long recognised that setting and enforcing standards for nursing education and practice is a major responsibility of organised nursing and a key aspect of nursing's progress as a profession. The various means of setting standards are the credentialing (licensing and certification) of nurses and specialists, approval of schools and accreditation of nursing services in hospitals and other settings. ICN's position, developed and promulgated within its member associations, is that for nursing to be recognised and to contribute as a profession, its educational standards must be equivalent to those of other professions.
Recognising its responsibility to facilitate positive change, in 1987 ICN launched its Regulation of Nursing project to assist NNAs and other nurse leaders to establish or revise their nursing regulatory systems consistent with ICN guidelines and nurses' crucial role in primary health care. This work is on going ICN has proposed universal guidelines for basic and speciality practice as well as through describing the continuum of nursing care and the associated competencies to deliver quality practise. These approaches help the nursing profession wrestling with questions of authority, definition, boundaries, scope of practice and educational standards for nursing specialities. As international trade agreements, such as the European Union and NAFTA become more prevalent, minimum standards must be established within the regions if professionals are to be free to move from country to country to practice.
A major regulatory dynamic in many countries has to do with the use of auxiliary and unlicensed personnel in health care, also a spin off of the cost-containment and restructuring efforts. ICN and many of its member associations have developed positions on these issues, documents used in effectively representing nursing within the government and service sectors. We must have data about the consequences of such substitution and de-skilling practices, if we are to prevail in arguing for minimum staffing standards.
Other ICN's initiatives in regulation include:
- The establishment of a Regulation Network;
- The publication of toolkits guidelines and monographs,which can be purchased at our eshop;
- The creation of the Credentialing and Regulators Forum;
- The establishment of the ICN Observatory on Registration and Licensure;
- Awards of International Continuing Nursing Education Credits (ICNECs).