Updates on Nursing Associations 2022

Parksville, BC – June 2022

I’m writing this update at the end of June in advance of our summer break in Canada. World events in the first half of 2022 have left us shaken and concerned about the future as we grapple with climate issues, global conflicts, food security, and population health. As I follow the daily news, I also turn my attention to developments in nursing and look for statements and opportunities for advocacy.

ICN Updates

The 75th World Health Assembly took place in May. It was interesting to follow on social media as it generated considerable attention this year. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) was active in presenting ‘Interventions’ on specific resolutions. See ICN’s summary here.

ICN along with the International Confederation of Midwives and the WHO met for their 9th Triad meeting in May. The representatives issued the 2022 Triad Statement focusing on health care workforce issues and reporting on what countries are doing in response to the Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery 2021-2025. Howard Catton, ICN CEO, has been interviewed by many news media this year speaking about the war in Ukraine and related humanitarian crises and on the scale of the nursing shortfall globally.

Annual Meetings

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and the Association of Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC (NNPBC) held their annual meetings in June. Both were open to all members and observers in a virtual format. The CNA Meeting of Members was noteworthy because it marked the first time that individual members could vote to elect candidates for the Board of Directors and vote on AGM motions. The previous federation model of territorial and provincial member associations carrying votes has ended. As a member who is following these changes, it will be interesting to see how the new membership structure will work and how the new Board will communicate with members throughout the country.  

After both meetings, I was left somewhat disappointed that there wasn’t more substance presented on what our associations are doing to demonstrate leadership during the current health care staffing crisis and other major issues in 2022 (I receive newsletters and view social media updates but others may not). I do recognize that annual meetings present highlights and financial statements on the previous year and are always six months out of date for the current year’s activities. It makes me wonder if members would be interested in (and commit to attending) an organizational update given in the autumn each year. We could meet the new Board members, hear their priorities for the current year, and ask questions – all through a virtual format, and in a less formal manner than at an annual meeting.

Annual meetings and major events aside, I do appreciate the ongoing work of our professional associations at all levels to bring a nursing perspective to provincial, national, and global health challenges and policy change.

By Nora Whyte – June 27, 2022

I acknowledge with respect that I live on the Unceded traditional territory of the K’òmoks First Nation.

Save the date for July 2023!

Public Health and Climate Change

The COP26 conference opens in Glasgow on October 31, 2021 and is generating considerable interest in the weeks leading up to the event. Officially known as the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, it is the 26th UN Climate Change conference. As explained on the COP26 website, “COP stands for Conference of the Parties – the signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty agreed in 1994 which has 197 Parties (196 countries and the EU).”

Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, BC – August 2021

It is heartening to see the growing public awareness of climate change impacts and the sense of urgency being expressed this year. Leading health organizations have formed coalitions to advocate for climate action. A recent open letter – Healthy Climate Prescription – issued by the Global Climate and Health Alliance (a coalition of organizations representing 45 million health professionals) is a good example of this important collaboration. Describing the climate crisis as “the single biggest health threat facing humanity” the authors of the letter call on world leaders to deliver on climate action. Among the key demands listed are: “a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels; for high income countries to provide the promised transfer of climate funds; and for pandemic recovery investments to support climate action and reduce social and health inequities.” Likewise, leading international health journals have published a strong editorial that appeared in multiple journals in September with a vital message: “Reflecting the severity of the moment, this editorial appears in health journals across the world. We are united in recognising that only fundamental and equitable changes to societies will reverse our current trajectory.”  

The annual Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change report was released on October 21, 2021. Key findings are presented in five domains: 1) climate change impacts, exposures, and vulnerabilities; 2) adaptation, planning, and resilience for health; 3) mitigation actions and health co-benefits; 4) economics and finance; and 5) public and political engagement. Indicators are provided under each of the domains to give a quick view of changes since the previous report. 

In Canada, the Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment (CANE-AIIE) has been active since 2009. Their website features articles, presentations, and campaigns. CANE was among the Canadian signatories to the Healthy Climate Prescription letter, along with the Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Public Health Association, and other organizations. I found CANE’s definition of planetary health quite helpful in thinking about the health of populations and the natural world:

Planetary health is a recognition of the fact that human health depends on healthy natural environments/ecosystems, and moreover, that we as a civilization find ourselves at a tipping point. We have depended on our natural systems to promote human health to the point where the human population is healthier than ever before, but to achieve this, we have exploited the planet at an unprecedented rate. If we want to continue to safeguard human health, we also need to maintain the health of the planet and its natural systems on which we depend (CANE website, n.d.).

Nurses are being called upon to use our individual and collective influence. Writing in the International Nursing Review, Dr. Pamela Mitchell (2021) offers a thoughtful piece on Nursing’s mandate in climate change. She notes that nurses have written about climate change in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and now urges collective advocacy to move our focus to climate justice and equity.

Dr. Sally Thorne’s recent editorial in Nursing Inquiry, Awakening to the climate emergency, is a fitting reminder to nurses to pay attention to planetary health. As Editor-in Chief, she anticipates an increase in manuscripts on “a nursing response to the climate crisis” as we take up a shared goal (Thorne, 2021).

I believe that events of recent years are awakening us to the urgency to act as part of our organizations, coalitions, and nations in the quest for climate justice.

Post COP26 Update: The Global Climate and Health Alliance provided an assessment of what was achieved and what work remains. There is positive news in COP26’s Glasgow Climate Pact “that re-commits governments to limiting temperature rise to 1.5C, in line with the most recent science” with concern about the lack of substance in the countries’ commitments. Read more in the media release from Glasgow dated November 13, 2021.

The International Council of Nurses issued a strong statement on the final day of COP26: “ICN is calling for nurses and other healthcare workers to be included at the centre of climate change policymaking, underscoring that climate change is a health issue. As COP26 closes and leaders look ahead to COP27 next year, ICN says it is more important than ever that the voice of health professionals is heard on the climate change debate because if nothing changes nurses and health systems will suffer the consequences.” See full media release (November 12, 2021).

By Nora Whyte – October 24, 2021 (Updated November 22, 2021)

I acknowledge with respect that I live on the Unceded traditional territory of the K’òmoks First Nation.

References:

Mitchell, P.H. (2021). Nursing’s mandate in climate change. International NursingReview, 68, 279– 280. https://doi.org/10.1111/inr.12704

Thorne, S. (2021). Awakening to the climate emergency. Nursing Inquiry, 28: e12459. https://doi.org/10.1111/nin.12459

February Update: ICN and WHO

This week I received the first newsletter for the 2021 International Council of Nurses (ICN) virtual congress taking place in November. This congress promises to be a highly relevant one for these times with the theme of “Nursing Around the World” using a virtual format that will increase access to the event.

Abstracts are due by March 11, 2021 for e-posters and oral concurrent sessions on eight sub-themes.  Sub-themes include Nursing Workforce, Epidemics & Pandemics, Global Health Challenges, and Digital Health & Innovation. The concurrent sessions will be 10-minute pre-recorded video presentations grouped by sub-theme.

Having attended past ICN congresses – in Barcelona, Durban, Singapore, and Vancouver – I can attest to the value of meeting nurses from around the world, listening to their presentations, and learning about policy advocacy to apply to my own work. Along with colleagues, I have submitted abstracts and been part of presentations. And sometimes an encounter at a congress has led to later collaboration and exchanges.

Global Vaccine Equity

Throughout the pandemic ICN has been vocal on the behalf of nurses and health workers globally and is supporting the current WHO campaign on vaccine equity in the first months of 2021, the Year of the Health and Care Worker.

The WHO Declaration calls on “global, national and local leaders to accelerate the equitable rollout of vaccines in every country, starting with health workers and those at highest risk for COVID-19. This includes scaling up vaccine manufacturing and rejecting vaccine nationalism at every turn.”

WHO urges world leaders to increase contributions to the COVAX facility and also calls on Ministries of Health “to work with WHO and others to invest in and prepare their primary health care systems for distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to their health workers.” Further, as is expressed often these days, distribution of vaccines quickly and equitably will be key to ending the pandemic. Individuals and organizations can lend their support by signing the declaration and by getting messages out through social media. #VaccinEquity

By Nora Whyte – February 18, 2021

I acknowledge with respect that I live on the Unceded traditional territory of the K’òmoks First Nation.

Summer 2019 Reflections

The highlight of this summer was the opportunity to be part of a global gathering of 5,300 nurses at the International Council of Nurses Congress in Singapore from June 27 to July 1. Hosted by the Singapore Nurses Association, it was truly a banner event: well-organized in every aspect and with a warm welcome from local volunteers as delegates arrived each day.

Welcome from Singapore Nurses Association at Opening Ceremony.
Photo Credit: ICN

Susan Duncan and I have written a summary of our experiences in a post on the University of Victoria School of Nursing Blog: ICN Singapore Congress – Reflections for Canadian Nursing: Onward to 2020.

We describe recent ICN initiatives including the partnership with Nursing Now and the exciting launch of the Nightingale Challenge. We reflect on the dynamic presence of the World Health Organization throughout the Congress and the increasing recognition of the vital role of nurses in achieving the WHO goal of Universal Health Coverage. The designation by WHO of 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife presents a great opportunity for participation in decision-making bodies and in events including the World Health Assembly next year.

ICN President Annette Kennedy.
Photo credit: ICN

Other highlights included meeting delegates from many countries during receptions, lunches, poster sessions and policy cafés.  We reconnected with colleagues from our national organizations and enjoyed encounters with Canadian students and early career nurses.

Canadian Nurses Association President Claire Betker

For further details on the 2019 Congress and to view presentation slides, photos and speaker profiles, see the archives here.

Onward to 2020!

Trinidad & Tobago Registered Nurses Association.
Photo credit: ICN

Posted by Nora Whyte – August 25, 2019

ICN Congress: Beyond Healthcare to Health

Courtesy of ICN

The International Council of Nurses 2019 Congress is set to begin on June 27 in Singapore. It promises to be a banner event with a strong focus on global health and nursing issues. I am looking forward to attending once again and to stimulating sessions on universal health coverage, primary health care and other policy topics.  

In particular I will be interested in an update on the Nursing Now campaign, launched in 2018 and growing into a social movement to advance nursing and midwifery in many countries. There will be updates on ICN’s recent initiatives and networking opportunities for participants as well as exhibits and poster sessions. Susan Duncan and I are presenting a poster, Launching a Global Inquiry into Nursing Organizations’ Points of Policy Influence: Key Questions. We intend to connect with nurses in other countries to learn about their strategies to influence health and public policy issues and to determine interest in ongoing collaboration. We will write an ICN summary report when we return to Canada.

Posted by Nora Whyte – June 18, 2019


International Council of Nurses 2019: Congress and Policy Advocacy

ICN Congress 2019 Singapore: ‘Beyond Healthcare to Health’

In my October 2018 post, I wrote about plans for the next ICN Congress taking place in Singapore from June 27 to July 1, 2019. The impressive lineup of keynote speakers has been announced this week: presentation topics include primary health care, health economics, nursing workforce, patient perspectives, migration issues and the future of nursing regulation. Also available on the conference website are the preliminary schedule, notice of special events and registration information.

Policy Advocacy

At the start of 2019, ICN continues its global policy advocacy through participation in the World Health Organization’s Executive Board convening in Geneva this month. Policy briefs focus on primary health care as the path to universal health coverage, patient safety and human resources for health. I have appreciated reading the strong statement on universal health coverage calling on “ministries of health, within their national context, to integrate PHC as the foundation of their health systems” (ICN 2019, 5.5:1). The statement on human resources for health highlights the important collaboration of WHO and ICN in the Nursing Now initiative launched in 2018:

“In partnership with ICN and WHO, the launch of Nursing Now has raised the profile of nursing and has highlighted the importance of the need for more well-educated nurses, of investing in recruitment and retention strategies and of removing the barriers to the development of advanced nursing roles that are proving highly effective at expanding healthcare coverage” (ICN 2019, 6.3: 1).

I encourage my Canadian colleagues to follow ICN and Nursing Now as this year promises to be an exciting one for nursing on the global stage.

Update January 31, 2019. During the WHO Executive Board meeting, Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the intention to declare 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife honouring the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale and celebrating the contribution of nursing and midwifery to global health. Watch for more details as plans unfold.

By Nora Whyte – January 25, 2019

International Council of Nurses Update: October 2018

The next congress of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) will take place in Singapore from June 27 to July 1, 2019. Hosted by the Singapore Nurses Association, it will bring together the worldwide nursing community to explore theme Beyond Healthcare to Health through plenary presentations, concurrent sessions and networking opportunities. Details are available at the ICN Congress Site.

Since attending the previous congress in Barcelona last year, I have been following ICN’s impressive policy work and advocacy activities on important global topics including climate change and migrant health. Visit the position statements page to view and download recent statements organized by theme:

  • Nursing Roles in Health Care Services
  • Nursing Profession
  • Socio Economic Welfare of Nurses
  • Health Care Systems
  • Social Issues

ICN’s collaboration with the Nursing Now campaign, recently given a boost by the World Health Organization, points to the profession’s increased visibility and influence on the global stage. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at WHO Headquarters in Geneva on October 4, 2018 was an occasion to celebrate and strengthen the partnership. The MOU formalizes a new commitment to support and advance nursing in improving health globally. ICN’s dynamic social media presence and a redesigned website have also contributed to increased visibility in promoting events, new initiatives and global health campaigns.  The ICN 2019 Congress will be a perfect opportunity to engage with the Nursing Now campaign and learn about its impact.

Update October 31: ICN and Nursing Now issued a Joint Statement following the Global Conference on Primary Health Care held in Astana, Kazakhstan (Oct. 25-26). Their statement contains links to the Astana Declaration and to a Civil Society Statement, endorsed by ICN and Nursing Now, calling for strengthening political leadership to uphold the vision of health for all.

By Nora Whyte – October 31, 2018

 

Human Resources for Health: Highlights from Fourth Global Forum

ForumLogo-Option3-1During the past few months I have followed several national and global conferences and events. One that caught my interest was the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health held in Dublin in November 2017. Although I could not attend in person, I did enjoy the live streaming of sessions and the social media interaction on the theme – Building the Health Workforce of the Future. The forum concluded with the Dublin Declaration on Human Resources for Health and a Youth Call for Action.

As an observer from afar it was interesting to listen to some of the plenary sessions and to learn about organizations collaborating on this strategic agenda including the Global Health Workforce Network. There is an increasing recognition of the benefits of investing in a well-educated, supported health workforce, both in terms of a nation’s economic growth and health system development.

The Youth Call for Action is noteworthy because it marked the first time that students and young health professionals have met in an organized Youth Forum attached to the Human Resources for Health Forum. Key messages from their participation in the forum include:

  • Youth are an essential agent of change in the world;
  • Youth are an asset for achieving the 2030 agenda on sustainable development;
  • A need for country-level action on decent jobs for youth in health and social sectors;
  • Create opportunities for youth to participate in global meetings; and
  • Call upon the World Health Organization to establish a WHO Hub on Youth within the Global Health Workforce Network.

The president of the International Council of Nurses, Annette Kennedy, was a speaker at the closing plenary. She pledged support from ICN for implementing the Dublin Declaration and welcomed the “collective political commitment demonstrated at the Forum.” She highlighted ICN initiatives to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage – see the November 21, 2017 media release from ICN for details.

Posted by Nora Whyte – December 11, 2017.

Nursing Now! Campaign to Launch in 2018

In my June 28 post on the 2017 International Council of Nurses Congress, I referred to a presentation on the Triple Impact Report of the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health.  During the Congress, Lord Nigel Crisp and Dr. Frances Hughes offered an exciting preview of a global campaign arising from the report’s recommendations.

The Nursing Now! Campaign is being developed in the coming months – it will be interesting to follow as plans take shape for key strategies and partnerships. As noted in an August Update, the campaign’s goal is “to raise the status and profile of nursing globally so that it can make an ever greater contribution to health and well-being.” Details of proposed objectives and organizational partners are found in the August Update issued by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health. The campaign’s intent is to increase the capacity of nursing to influence policy and to focus on nurse leadership at local, national and global levels.

Stay tuned for updates in advance of the formal launch scheduled for early in 2018.

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