ICN Chief Nurse Blog - July 2021

21 July 2021

Global Nursing Leadership Virtually Visible

As I virtually onboard as ICN Chief Nurse, utilizing technological supports to bridge geography, while maximizing connections and engagement through digital meetings across the globe has been personally valuable.

ICN Global Nurse Leadership Institute (GNLI) scholars have also experienced firsthand, pivoting continuing professional development from in-person to on-line, adapting and leveraging their digital professional competencies. The enabling virtual realities realized include efficiencies though enhancing access to education, travel savings, advancing leadership development, and strengthening capacity building through communities of nursing leadership practice. Challenges experienced included navigating learning platforms and internet reliability.

Our ICN flagship GNLI is an acclaimed strategic policy leadership programme generously supported by The Burdett Trust for Nursing. Senior nurse leaders benefit from high-level professional, political and policy leadership competencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed health disparities and nursing COVID effects. Nurse leaders’ strategic contributions are key for shaping, influencing and implementing policy decisions in government, education, advanced practice, research, regulators, professional association, trade union and nongovernmental organisations. GNLI scholars have enhanced expertise and skills to improve health outcomes, and support global pandemic recovery. Working with internationally respected facilitators and with access to policy resources, nurse scholars enjoy collaborating with ICN, global and regional health institutions, and alumni.

Evidence of impact boasts that over 98% of the GNLI Alumni recommend the programme. Another 76% stated it helped them impact policy at National level. Nursing career influence trajectories have catapulted for nurse leaders in clinical, academic and executive practice such as:

Rear Admiral Susan Orsega (United States) who attributes GNLI as a significant force in her appointment by President Biden as Acting Surgeon General.

Semakalong Phafoli (Lesotho Nurses Association) served as a GNLI co-facilitator was enlisted to lead the AFRO region for the State of the World report.

Mila Delia Lianes (Philippine Nurses Association) became President of the PNA, developed a Nursing Leadership Institute, and was appointed to a national task force to develop a chief nurse office role.

Charlotte McArdle (Northern Ireland) is now Chief Nurse Officer and is working with Sir Michael Marmot, the originator of the framework of social determinants of health to build robust engagement of nurses for advancing the health of communities.

GNLI 2021 will continue online, directed by Diana Mason. Faculty and facilitators include Karen Bjøro (Norwegian Nurses Organisation), Edna Tallum Kiamaiyo (National Nurses Association of Kenya), Catherine Schofield (Australia), and Sarvjeet Kaur (Indian Nursing Council).

Nurse leadership professional development advances the global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery across all four pillars (education, jobs, leadership and service delivery). Investing in the nursing profession and your personal leadership learning is life changing.

Yours in nursing, health and leadership,


Dr. Michelle Acorn, ICN Chief Nurse, DNP, NP PHC/Adult, CGNC, FCAN