On 21 June 2022, 29 senior nurse leaders from all regions of the world graduated from the International Council of Nurses (ICN) prestigious Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLITM) 2021 Programme, a unique and highly respected global leadership programme for nurses.
The GNLI programme is truly global, offering Scholars the opportunity to engage and work with international organisations and leaders and make a real and impactful difference. Now in its 13th year, GNLI has evolved as a programme, becoming more dynamic and responding directly to emerging global health challenges. Graduates from the programme join a powerful and elite group of alumni, many of whom have gone on to become presidents of national nursing associations, ICN Board members or their country’s chief nurse.
In an online ceremony, with guest speakers Elizabeth Iro, Chief Nurse at the World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr Pamela Cipriano, ICN President, the GNLI Scholars spoke about their pride of being part of the ICN delegation at the World Health Assembly and presented their regional projects which are aligned with WHO Regional Offices’ priorities, resulting in real policy change and tangible outcomes.
Howard Catton, ICN CEO, welcomed the graduates and thanked Dr Diana Mason, GNLI Programme Director, and Regional Faculty Edna Kimaiyo (AFRO), Dr Karen Bjøro (EURO), Dr Sarvjeet Kaur (SEARO), and Katherine Schofield (WPRO).
Dr Mason congratulated the graduates, saying “You are true leaders. You have done it with great grace and with accountability. Thank you for showing us that you are this next generation of leaders!”
She expressed her deep gratitude to WHO headquarters, Elizabeth Iro and the WHO regional offices for working with the GNLI Scholars to bring their perspectives to the programme.
The ICN President, Dr Cipriano, spoke about the importance of the innovative and acclaimed GNLI programme in enhancing ICN and nursing’s ability to influence global health policy. She thanked Elizabeth Iro for attending the ceremony, saying “That is a direct representation of how important this programme is. Elizabeth and colleagues at WHO as well as the many in-country ministers and other key leaders ─ leaders of NGOs, leaders of other influential groups around the world, all respond when we ask them to...make themselves available, to share their expertise, their mentorship and in some cases, their sponsorship, of each of you.”
The ICN President also thanked the Burdett Trust for Nursing for supporting the GNLI for many years. She highlighted why GNLI is such an important programme.
“What we have seen over the last decade, in particular, as nurses have become more educated and have shed this reluctance to lead because of programmes like GNLI, we are much more visible, we are more respected, and it is part of our desire to not only have our voice heard but to also see the direct results of policy...[It is because of] the work of individuals like yourselves, who have accepted the charge to become more visible and involved leaders, that we will be able to have influence in each of our governments, at the highest levels of policy making...We have been very proud of GNLI as a marquee programme for ICN and we see it as fundamental to raising nursing’s voice in ways that we have never before been able to enact the influence that we are seeing now, so I applaud every one of you.”
Elizabeth Iro thanked ICN for “all that you do to ensure that nurses all over the world are heard, protected and well promoted.” She praised nurses for their contributions to the development of the Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery. Ms Iro emphasized the importance of data collection. “Our evidence for developing our capacity and our capabilities lies in our data. We must use our data to inform health priorities.”
Several Scholars spoke about their participation in the ICN delegation to the 75th World Health Assembly – a tremendous and unique opportunity for the Scholars to take part in global policy making at the highest level. Françoise Foute Nwabufo, Dr Andrea Sonenberg, Dr Myrna Doumit, Prof. Joanne Reid, Joao Gentil and Karrie Long all spoke about their immense pride and privilege at being involved in this important meeting. Howard Catton pointed out that this unique opportunity offered by GNLI puts it on a level above and beyond other leadership programmes.
The GNLI 2021 Scholars then presented their regional projects ─ a powerful component of GNLI. The projects are aligned with the WHO regional priorities following discussions with WHO Regional Offices.
The GNLI AFRO/EMRO regional project, Facilitators and barriers to the establishment of QUADS: Evidence from AFRO/EMRO Countries was presented on 15 June to the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean. The project goal is to strengthen the health care systems and enhance the nursing education, practice, leadership and regulation in the AFRO and EMRO region.
GNLI 2021 Scholars from the Euro Region presented their regional project, Digital Health Policy in the EURO Region, Increasing Nursing Impact, to key partners from the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The Scholars are developing a policy statement response to the WHO Euro Digital Health Action Plan for 2023-2030 that will be presented for adoption at the WHO Euro Regional Committee in September. Maggie Langins, the WHO Euro Policy Advisor for Nursing and Midwifery, has been a key enabler for the Scholars introducing them to digital health policy developers at the regional office.
The GNLI Scholars in the PAHO/AMRO region presented their regional project plan on 9 June to a group that included Dr Silvia Cassiani, the Special Advisor on Nursing and Midwifery for the WHO PAHO office. The project, Barriers and Facilitators to Investing in Nursing in Latin America, will be a qualitative analysis of interviews with key informants in six countries: Peru, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, and Guyana. The results of the study will be published in a joint PAHO/ICN document in the official PAHO journal.
On 4 June, four GNLI Scholars from the SEARO region presented their regional project on Developing framework for nursing and midwifery leadership competencies for SEARO region to the WHO Regional office for South-East Asia.
The group of GNLI WPRO Scholars presented their regional project, How nurses influence nursing workforce policy in the Western Pacific Region which included the development of an influence map to navigate nursing policy implementation. Three of the WPRO Scholars, Dr Francis Acquah, Danielle Causer, Karrie Long, travelled to ICN headquarters in Geneva for the graduation ceremony.
Dr Michelle Acorn, ICN Chief Nurse, congratulated the graduates on their impressive regional projects, and encouraged the Scholars to sustain their engagement by: becoming certified global nurse consultants; becoming an active member of the GNLI Alumni Network; submitting their projects to the International Nursing Review for global dissemination; submitting abstracts to the ICN Congress in Montreal in July 2023; and for advanced practice nurses, attending the ICN NP/APN Network Conference in Ireland in August 2022.
Two GNLI 2018 alumni, Lisa Darsch and Dr Jed Montayre, spoke to the Scholars about the GNLI Alumni Network and the ways in which these continued connections increase and enhance future opportunities to influence and impact on health policies.
The online ceremony concluded with the presentation of the GNLI certificates to the 29 graduates who each delivered a statement of commitment and a short statement on their future plans.
GNLI 2021 graduates included:
African Region: Oluwadamilare Akingbade; Roselyn Nugba Ballah; Professor Julia Downing; Ngnedjou Francoise Foute Nwabufo; and Yusupha Sanyang
Eastern Mediterranean Region: Dr Myrna Abi Abdallah Doumit and Aisha Dammra European Region: João Gentil; Dr Vanessa Heaslip; Dr Gillian Janes; Bente Lüdemann Rolf-André Oxholm; Dr Natasha Phillips; Professor Joanne Reid; and Professor Michael Shannon
Pan American Region: Dr Nicole Letourneau; Dr Andréa Sonenberg and Dr Brittney Van De Water
South East Asian Region: Dr Manju Chhugani; Karma Choden; Professor Sami Lama; and Sangita Shrestha
Western Pacific Region: Dr Francis Rogel Nii Lanteye Acquah; Manielle Causer; Dr Hsieh Hsiao-Yen; Dr Tomoko Komagata; Karrie Long; Professor Young Ran Tak; and Jae Sun Yu
A new cohort of Scholars is ready for GNLI 2022, starting in September!
Download the communique here