ICN has a long history in regulation, having been created in 1899 to ensure high standards of nursing education and practice globally. Its founders believed that to have a recognised system of education and a method for the controlling nursing was needed. The concept of universal standards was promulgated as ICN reasoned that principles governing nursing education and practice should be the same in every country because the need for nursing services is universal and the same, wherever it is being given. Thus, establishing higher standards for education and practice was a goal for international nursing from the beginning of ICN’s life.
In the late 1990s ICN more clearly established regulation as one of the organisation’s three pillars.