Turning opportunity into action, policy and investment to support nurses

27 June 2019


Governing body of the International Council of Nurses holds biennial meeting

Singapore; Geneva, Switzerland, 27 June 2019 – The International Council of Nurses (ICN) held its Council of National Nursing Association Representatives (CNR) in Singapore this week.

Leaders from ICN’s 130-plus members, representing the 20 million nurses worldwide met to have policy discussions on the role of nurses in achieving universal health coverage, the Sustainable Development Goals and noncommunicable diseases. Discussions included what is required in terms of global and national policy to invest in and support the nursing workforce which represents 50% of the workforce, yet delivers 90% of the hands-on care.

High-level speakers at the Policy Forum on 25 June included:

• Dr Jim Campbell, Director of the WHO Health Workforce department, spoke about the issues facing the nursing workforce including migration

• Carey McCarthy, Technical Officer for Nursing & Midwifery at WHO, spoke about the State of the World’s Nursing

• Judith Shamian, former ICN president, who spoke about the collaboration between ICN and the World Bank and why it is essential in order to secure investment in nursing

• Dr Khama Rogo, Lead Health Sector Specialist with the World Bank and Head of the World Bank Group's Health in Africa Initiative, who spoke on the importance of looking at and responding to the labour market

• Peter Johnson, Director of Global Learning, and Leslie Mancuso, President & CEO, Jhpiego, who emphasized the importance of looking at the big picture before educating more nurses • And Barbara Stillwell from the Nursing Now campaign who urged nurses to take up the challenge to become leaders.

The CNR also worked to set the agenda for the future work of the organisation, including preparations for 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, and to ensure this exciting opportunity is turned into action, policy and investment to support nurses.

ICN President Annette Kennedy said:

‘Our CNR meetings are a vital part of the governance of the ICN: it is where our member nations’ top nurses will influence our policies, processes and activities over the next two years to take the profession forward.

‘Nurses can make a huge difference to the health of people all around the globe, and the ICN, which is 120 years old this year, is here to support our great profession.

‘The World Health Organization’s goal of Health for All will only be achieved if there are enough properly trained nurses working at the right time and in the right place. ICN will always strive to influence health, social, educational and economic policies to bring the best out of nurses and ensure they can provide the world with the care, treatment and comfort that only they can deliver.’

This year, discussions at the CNR centred on various topics of importance to ICN membership, including finance, the ICN Strategic Plan 2019-2023, the size of the ICN Board and areas of distribution, nursing student engagement, and reports form the ICN Board Committees.

ICN’s members association continue to grow and influence at both national and global level. Several awards were given to ICN member national nursing associations (NNAs). The Membership Growth Award, which recognises the NNA representing the most significant growth of the number of nurses over the preceding quadrennium, was presented to the College of Nurses of Andorra. The Membership Inclusiveness/ Representativeness Award recognises NNAs' improvement in the NNA coverage to demonstrate inclusiveness and representativeness. The gold award, given to NNAs with more than 75% of the total number of nurses in a country was given to the Colegio de Enfermeras de Costa Rica, the Organización Colegial de Enfermería of Spain, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and the Joint Virtual Swedish Nurses Organisation. The silver award, which is given to NNAs including 50+% of the total number of nurses in a country, was presented to the College of Nurses of Bolivia, the Grenada Nurses Association, the Icelandic Nurses Association, the Nurses Association of Jamaica, the Nurses Association of the Republic of the Seychelles, the Order of Nurses, Midwives and Medical Assistants in Romania, and the Association of Health Workers of Serbia.


The bronze Inclusiveness Award, given to NNAs including 25+% of the total number of nurses in a country, was presented to the Japanese Nurses Association, the Taiwan Nurses Association, the Ghana Registered Nursing Association, the National Association of Nurses and Midwives of Montenegro, and the Suriname Nurses Association

The CNR is the governing body of ICN and sets its policy, including deciding on the admission of member countries, the election of ICN’s Board of Directors, amendments to its constitution, and the setting of fees.

All members of the CNR are nurses who are selected by ICN’s member associations to be their national representatives. The CNR meets every two years as a prelude to ICN’s biennial Congresses, which will see more than 5,000 nurses gather together for a scientific programme between 27 June and 1 July.

For details of the Congress programme go to: Download the Congress app free of charge from the App Store for iPhones and from the Play Store for Android phones. After opening one of these stores, type “K.I.T. Group” in the search toolbar.


Note for Editors

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses’ associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

For further information please contact

Gyorgy Madarasz, Press Officer, International Council of Nurses, Tel: +41 22 908 01 16