Nursing the World to Health

I am writing this post as National Nursing Week in Canada draws to a close. It has been a strange time of celebration mixed with sadness at the losses experienced globally and the ongoing concern about the health of populations and the long road to recovery.

During this Nursing Week, I found that our Canadian nursing leaders reflected what many of us have been thinking about our profession during the time of COVID. I greatly appreciated reading CNA President Claire Betker’s editorial in the Canadian Nurse: On the importance of nurses in 2020. Claire highlighted the opportunity to raise the profile of the profession during the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife and demonstrated the many ways in which Canadian nurses have made an impact.

International Nurses Day was celebrated globally on May 12, the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This year’s theme, Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health captured both the spirit and the urgency of nursing’s vital global role. The International Council of Nurses provided excellent resources on its International Nurses Day site and was highly visible in media interviews and in generating social media energy. ICN’s CEO Howard Catton tweeted: “Let our celebrations be a clarion call for real commitments to actions and investments to support nurses to do the work that the world desperately needs them to do.” Annette Kennedy, ICN President, expressed her appreciation to the global nursing community and held a great video conversation with Dr. Tedros on May 12. It’s worth viewing and reflecting on their messages!

This week also provided opportunities to profile the State of the World’s Nursing 2020 Report, released in April 2020 and now gaining attention. This landmark publication has highlighted the urgent need for acceleration of nursing education, job creation and leadership. The report’s call to strengthen nursing leadership is “to ensure that nurses have an influential role in health policy formulation and decision-making, and contribute to the effectiveness of health and social care systems” (WHO, 2020).

Nursing Week 2020 has played out in a vastly different way than anticipated; however, there is no doubt that the theme of “Nursing the World to Health” is more important than ever as we face the remainder of 2020 using a professional, powerful and collective voice to lead.

By Nora Whyte – May 15, 2020

Nursing Now: Ready for 2020

Nursing Now launched in 2018 as a global collaboration among the Burdett Trust for Nursing, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the World Health Organization (WHO). I have been following developments and have used this Blog to share highlights and links to updates from time to time.

On the cusp of 2020, Nursing Now is perfectly positioned to play a leadership role during the 2020 Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. Events and celebrations are planned throughout the year. In their most recent update (November 2019), the Nursing Now campaign team stated: “During 2020, we are united in our ambition to propel nursing and midwifery into the spotlight and onto the agenda of governments, with the ultimate goal of improving health globally.”

As Nursing Now has gained momentum, I have been pleased to note the connection to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There’s increasing recognition that nurses and midwives are contributing to the SDGs and are absolutely vital to delivering Universal Health Coverage by 2030.

A new aspect of Nursing Now announced during the ICN Congress in Singapore in June is the Nightingale Challenge currently being promoted as a key leadership development strategy for 2020 and beyond:

The Challenge is asking every health employer around the world to provide leadership and development training for a group of their young nurses and midwives during 2020, the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, to support them as practitioners, and enhance their skills as advocates and leaders in health.

Nursing Now Canada launched in 2019 with plans for national initiatives in three ‘pillars’ as outlined in its June 3, 2019 media release:

  • Nursing Leadership pillar – to establish a hub to educate, empower and support regulated nurses to lead, advocate, innovate, influence public policy and create sustainable change in health.
  • Chief Nursing Officer pillar – to establish federal, provincial and territorial chief nursing officers in leadership positions within ministries of health.
  • Indigenous pillar – to support nurses and midwives in providing culturally safe care and to strengthen the power of Indigenous nurses.

The Canadian Nurses Association is the official link for Canadian nurses to the global Nursing Now campaign and is carrying out this three-point action plan in partnership with the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association and Indigenous Services Canada.

From here at home to events on the world stage, communities of nurses and midwives will be joining their colleagues and supporters in celebrating the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife in 2020.

Update November 23, 2019

It was a delight to read an editorial published in The Lancet today (Volume 394) entitled 2020: unleashing the full potential of nursing and drawing attention to Nursing Now and the Nightingale Challenge. The editorial makes the case for enhancing nursing to enhance health and looks to the opportunity of 2020 “to showcase the evidence and impact of what nurses and midwives do, and to ensure that they are enabled, resources and supported to meet the world’s health needs.” Thanks to The Lancet for this timely editorial and the social media interest it is generating.

By Nora Whyte – November 21, 2019


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

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

 

Nursing Now: Campaign for Nursing & Global Health

Nursing Now is a three-year campaign to raise the profile of nursing globally and to enhance the profession’s contribution to people’s health and health systems. In partnership with the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the Burdett Trust in the UK, World Health Organization and others, Nursing Now has described the campaign goals to be achieved by the end of 2020:

  • Greater investment in improving education professional development, standards, regulation and employment conditions for nurses;
  • Increased and improved dissemination of effective and innovative practice in nursing;
  • Greater influence for nurses and midwives on global and national health policy;
  • More nurses in leadership positions and more opportunities for development at all levels; and
  • More evidence for policy and decision makers about where nursing can have the greatest impact, what is stopping nurses from reaching their full potential and how to address these obstacles.

The campaign launch at the end of February 2018 received an enthusiastic response as events were held in various locations and promoted widely through social media. Having first heard about early ideas for Nursing Now during the ICN Congress in Barcelona (May 2017), I have been following developments with great interest and will continue to do so during the three-year campaign. I was pleased to read an overview of the campaign in the March-April issue of the Canadian Nurse including a profile of Sarah Walji who represents young nurses on the Nursing Now campaign board.

Nursing Now will look for opportunities for policy influence through presenting ideas to special commissions and participating in global health events. An initial opportunity this year is the High-level Commission on Non-Communicable Diseases. The Nursing Now team has been seeking input from nurses in preparing a brief to showcase nursing’s role in promoting health and preventing disease.

What now? Suggestions for involvement include pledging support, joining or setting up a national group, providing case studies and contributing to social media discussions. As a first step, nurses can sign up to receive regular updates.

The campaign has great potential to raise the profile of global and national nursing organizations including the ICN and its member national associations. It will be interesting to track achievements during the next three years to observe its impact and to learn about the most effective strategies for realizing the desired changes. It will be important also to consider any issues or concerns arising from this major initiative. It may be that all the focus on nursing is viewed negatively by other professions and there could be challenges embarking on the campaign in countries where governments have limited interest in a strong health sector. It will be important in all aspects of this initiative to refrain from being inward-looking as the nursing profession increases its collective capacity and policy presence for global health.

Follow on Twitter: @NursingNow2020

Posted by Nora Whyte –  April 29, 2018

 

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