ICN 2017 Congress Report by Nora Whyte

What a pleasure it was to be among 8,200 nurses from 135 countries who participated in the International Council of Nurses 2017 Congress in Barcelona in May! Hosted by the Spanish General Council of Nursing, this congress with its timely theme – Nurses at the Forefront Transforming Care – lived up to all expectations with stimulating plenary speakers, concurrent sessions and highly engaged nurses from around the globe.

ICN Congress Welcome

ICN Congress Welcome

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) served as a guiding framework with emphasis on nurses as key to achieving the goals. Plenary presentations had a common theme of policy advocacy for health system change and sessions provided informative examples of national nursing associations contributing to positive change in their countries.

Plenary speakers included Dr. Linda Aiken and Dr. Mary Wakefield from the US, Dr. Julia Duncan-Cassell from Liberia and Lord Nigel Crisp from the UK. In her keynote on Safe Staffing to Transform Care, Linda Aiken presented highlights from her research in 30 countries to show how evidence-based staffing make a difference to patient outcomes. Each 10% decrease in the proportion of RNs in hospitals is associated with a 12% increase in risk of mortality. She noted that there is “plenty of evidence to convince governments to invest in nursing” but that safe staffing remains an issue.

Lord Nigel Crisp of the UK House of Lords and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health (APPG) spoke about the work of the APPG in developing its 2016 Triple Impact Report:

Increasing the number of nurses, and developing nursing so that nurses can achieve their potential, will also have a wider triple impact of improving health, promoting gender equality and supporting economic growth (APPG, p.3).

Student Volunteers at ICN Congress. Photo credit: ICN

Student Volunteers at ICN Congress. Photo credit: ICN

The presence of nursing students during the congress was impressive: Spanish students were active as volunteers and other students brought their perspectives to sessions where they asked great questions. It was exciting to hear about the inaugural meeting of the Global Association of Student and Novice Nurses held in conjunction with the congress.

Informal Networking Outside Barcelona International Conference Centre

Informal Networking Outside Barcelona International Conference Centre

On a personal level, it was particularly meaningful to meet nurse leaders from around the globe including some members of the ICN Board of Directors. There were messages of thanks to outgoing president Judith Shamian and words of welcome to the incoming Board of Directors and new president Annette Kennedy who brings great experience and enthusiasm to her new role. ICN presidents have a tradition of selecting a “watchword” to guide their term – Annette Kennedy announced her watchword Together as highlighted in this excerpt from her acceptance speech:

Together we can ensure that we have a voice at every committee and policy table related to health care. Together we can encourage investment in primary care, health promotion and disease prevention and together we can provide that care. Together we can convince the public and policy makers that investing in health is an investment in our people and our economy. Together we can seek better working conditions for all nurses. Together we can realise our collective potential to make the world a healthier place for everyone. (ICN Press Information, June 2, 2017).

Looking to the future, ICN’s Voice to Lead campaign launched for International Nurses Day this year, will continue as a dynamic resource as ICN strengthens its social media and furthers its work on the SDGs.

The entire congress experience – with opportunities for stimulating exchange of ideas and  meeting nurses from many countries – was worthwhile in every way. To cap it off, I enjoyed extra days exploring the beautiful city of Barcelona!

Evening view of Barcelona - May 2017

Evening view of Barcelona – May 2017

British Columbia Provincial Election 2017

Three organizations I follow closely in my home province of British Columbia have put together informative tools and resources for the 2017 provincial election campaign.

The Public Health Association BC (PHABC) has launched its provincial election platform calling for immediate action to reduce poverty and inequities as well as ideas for longer term policy advocacy. PHABC resources include an election toolkit and an opportunity for sharing ideas on public health issues through a survey on the future of public health.

The BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) has organized its election messages around the UN Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting the point that the Global Goals apply both locally and globally. BCCIC’s election website is worth a visit for great resources and a push for political leadership on these issues.

The Association of Registered Nurses of BC (ARNBC) has developed an election toolkit with information on selected topics including Aboriginal health, rural health, end-of-life care and social determinants of health. For each topic there are briefing materials and suggested questions to ask candidates. The toolkit also offers campaign tips and ideas for use of social media.

Posted by Nora Whyte

 

Community Health: Action for Change

banner0-1The International Collaboration for Community Health Nursing Research has announced the call for abstracts for its 7th International Conference. The themes are:

Innovation & new trends in community health
Community involvement – best practices
Community nurses – skills development; redefining roles for new
challenges
Health policy – challenges & impact
National & international collaboration & partnerships in community
health
Research for the future

The conference takes place in September 2017 and the abstract deadline is May 30.

It’s exciting to see that this event is being held in Johannesburg where I lived and worked for three years.

Nora Whyte

Health Systems Global: Vancouver Statement

logo-new

The Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research wrapped up on November 18, 2016 (see previous post below dated November 15).  It was interesting to follow some of the live coverage and social media commentary during the event. The organizers issued a statement at the conclusion of the Symposium to highlight key reflections on the deliberations and to outline proposed actions. The Vancouver Statement builds on achievements and changing contexts since the Third Global Symposium held in Cape Town in 2014. The changes include adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, increased attention to Universal Health Coverage and a greater recognition of the role of communities in shaping health policy.

For background on Health Systems Global and current activities, see the Health Systems Global Website.

 

Global symposium on health systems research

logo-new

The fourth global symposium on health systems research is underway in Vancouver this week: November 14-18. There is live coverage and access to e-posters as well as other content throughout the week.

Participants are exploring the timely theme of ‘resilient and responsive health systems for a changing world’ as they meet in person and engage through social media.

Key points on the meaning of the theme are highlighted here:

datacard1_resilient-and-responsive

International Council of Nurses 2017 Congress

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) will hold its next quadrennial congress in Barcelona, Spain from May 27 to June 1, 2017.

The congress theme of nurses at the forefront transforming care will feature sessions on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and papers grouped by themes including equity/ethics/human rights; health promotion and disease prevention; information and communication technology; nursing education and learning; regulation; and history. The congress will also provide opportunities for network meetings, a student assembly and meetings of the ICN member organizations known as the Council of National Nursing Association Representatives (CNR).

 

Student Assembly at 2013 ICN Congress in Australia.

Student Assembly at 2013 ICN Congress in Australia.

 

ICN has outlined three main objectives of the Congress:

  1. To demonstrate and advance the nursing contribution to informed and sustainable health policies;
  2. To support nursing’s contribution to evidence-based healthcare and to encourage problem-solving approaches to health priority needs; and
  3. To provide opportunities for an in-depth exchange of experience and expertise within and beyond the international nursing community.

Note: The abstract deadline is October 10, 2016.

Posted by Nora Whyte

World Health Organization’s Strategic Directions on the Global Health Workforce

World Health Assembly 2016. Photo credit: WHO/L. Cipriani

World Health Assembly 2016.
Photo credit: WHO/L. Cipriani

 

Two important policy documents were adopted by the 69th World Health Assembly in May 2016:

Both strategic frameworks provide direction on the global health workforce in support of achieving universal health coverage by overcoming gaps in availability, access and education.  The Workforce 2030 document provides context on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the push to universal health coverage outlining milestones for 2020 and 2030. I have been reviewing the nursing and midwifery document with great interest as I reflect on its relevance to my work as a nursing consultant. The document is well organized in its presentation of four themes and guiding principles followed by an implementation section on proposed action and indicators for monitoring and evaluation. The thematic areas are:

  1. Ensuring an educated, competent and motivated nursing and midwifery workforce within effective and responsive health systems at all levels and in different settings.
  2. Optimizing policy development, effective leadership, management and governance.
  3. Working together to maximize the capacities and potentials of nurses and midwives through intra- and interprofessional collaborative partnerships, education and continuing professional development.
  4. Mobilizing political will to invest in building effective evidence-based nursing and midwifery workforce development (WHO, 2016, p. 14).

In reading the elaboration on each theme, I am pleased to note attention to positive work environments, recognition of the value of investing in education and professional development and discussion of leadership and advocacy for responsive health systems. Further, the document highlights the importance of engaging professional associations of nurses and midwives in policy development.

Although the document is intended primarily for the WHO system, including its regional offices and member countries, there is scope for the contributions of civil society partners such as nursing and midwifery professional associations and regulatory bodies. In proposing action on each of the four themes, the WHO identifies strategic interventions at the national, regional and global levels as well as a role for partner organizations. One such partner is the International Council of Nurses (ICN), a contributor to consultation sessions in development of the document and an advocate for collaborative efforts to improve global health. For those interested in further background reading, ICN maintains a collection of resources on health workforce developments.

This topic will be highlighted during the next ICN Congress will take place in Barcelona from May 27 to June 1, 2017. The Congress Website has preliminary information and detailed instructions for submitting online abstracts until October 10, 2016. The Congress theme – Nurses at the forefront transforming care – has been chosen to tie in with universal health coverage, strengthening the health workforce and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Posted by Nora Whyte

June 1, 2016

Thinking about Quality Improvement

Last year I signed up for updates from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the organization known for the Triple Aim framework. I have been learning about IHI’s impressive work and have appreciated the resources available on the organization’s website. This week I participated in an excellent webinar featuring Dr. Don Berwick, IHI President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, and Dr. Jessica Berwick, Internist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discussing the topic Morality Matters: How to Reset the Mission of Quality Improvement.

WIHISlides_MoralityMatters_Feb18

Their starting point was a keynote presentation by Don Berwick given at IHI’s National Forum last December in which he had raised concerns about the tensions experienced in healthcare today arising from two eras: professional dominance in era one followed by a move to accountability, measurement and greater scrutiny in era two. He proposed steps to a third era – the focus of the February 18 webinar – with a plea to decrease excessive measurement among other steps (See slide 8 in the webinar slides). To move into a moral era, he outlined the need to recommit to the science of improvement, protect civility within healthcare and focus on the patient (“Listen, really listen”). Jessica Berwick offered commentary and examples from her current experience as a new internist and hospitalist in Boston. It was interesting to hear from this dynamic father and daughter team as they talked about what really matters and explored ways to overcome the challenges imposed by corporate entities and external systems. They stimulated my thinking about the importance of values to the quest of improving health and healthcare delivery.

Please see links to selected IHI resources:

A primer on the Triple Aim framework, history and application is found on the IHI Triple Aim Initiative page.

Audio recording of Morality Matters: How to Reset the Mission of Quality Improvement. (Feb. 18, 2016)

Video recording of Don Berwick’s IHI National Forum presentation (Dec. 9, 2015)

Highlights of 2015 by Nora Whyte

2015 marked a professional transition as my work with the Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (ARNBC) came to an end after close to four years of exciting and satisfying times during the organization’s development.

One of my personal highlights was collaborating with ARNBC colleagues Julie Fraser and Barb Reece on a presentation delivered by Julie at the International Council of Nurses’ Conference held in Seoul in June 2015. Our presentation – Developing Nurse Leaders: An Important Role for Professional Nursing Associations – outlined ARNBC’s experience in implementing strategies to support the development of emerging leaders through local networks and student engagement activities.

Dr. Sheila Tlou giving a plenary presentation at ICN Conference in Seoul.

Dr. Sheila Tlou giving a plenary presentation at ICN Conference in Seoul. Photo credit: ICN

It was a pleasure to follow the daily updates from the ICN Conference and to review presentation materials posted at a later date. See the ICN conference site for selected presentation slides on the theme of Global Citizen, Global Nursing.

Other highlights were speaking invitations during the fall including the opportunity to deliver opening greetings at the 25th anniversary celebration of the British Columbia History of Nursing Society in September – a wonderful event held at Hycroft in Vancouver and a great chance to see many friends and colleagues.

Networking at CNSA Regional Conference in Courtenay, BC. Oct. 2015

Networking at CNSA Regional Conference in Courtenay, BC. Oct. 2015

 

Meetings with students at North Island College and at the Western/Prairie Regional Conference of the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) were enjoyable times to talk with students, to learn about their interests and to observe student leadership in action. See my blogpost below dated Oct. 26, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plans for 2016 include writing projects and continuing my consulting work in nursing and global health.

With my thanks to colleagues for your support in 2015 and best wishes for the coming year!

Nora Whyte

Nursing Leadership: Global Contexts and Connections

It was a great pleasure to meet with nursing student leaders at the Western/Prairie Regional Conference of the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association in Courtenay, British Columbia on October 25, 2015. The conference theme for this dynamic gathering was Inspire! Advocate! Unleash!

Graduate Students at Baba Farid College of Nursing, Faridkot, India

Graduate Students at Baba Farid College of Nursing, Faridkot, India

In my keynote address I explored aspects of the role of Canadian nurses as global citizens. Drawing on experiences and lessons learned through involvement in international partnerships, I shared examples of advocacy by nurses and their organizations in improving health and health systems. I highlighted current global contexts and connections for Canadian nurses including our strong link to a global nursing leadership community through the International Council of Nurses. An important new political advocacy context for nurses around the world is the launch of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, known as the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

My presentation slides posted here have links to references and resources for further exploration: Nursing Leadership CNSA Conference

Thanks to the conference planning committee for inviting me to speak and to all the student delegates for your interest and questions!

Nora Whyte