Last week I had the pleasure of attending the 2021 International Nursing Congress. The theme was Nursing Around the World. More than 5500 nurses from 132 countries were registered to attend the biennial event, co-hosted this year by the Emirates Nursing Association. The Congress was held virtually for the first time out of a beautiful studio in Geneva, Switzerland.

I was blown away by the opening ceremony of the 2021 Congress which included a virtual Parade of ICN Nursing from around the world. There was also the formal presentation of ICN Awards, and unique cultural entertainment from the United Arab Emirates.  The welcome was delivered by Her Royal Highness Princess Muna al-Hussein. Several personalities also paid tribute to nurses around the world that included: Pope Francis, Bono, Oprah Winfrey, Roger Federer, Key from the K-pop band SHINee, and the Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. All thanked nurses around the world for the work they do everyday. It was very moving.

It was an amazing event that highlighted the important, and dangerous work nurses worldwide are doing, especially during COVID. They showed how COVID impacted countries and nurses from their countries in actions. It showed me that WE/Nurses were there to do the work we were trained, but also we were there to help our patients, their families, our co-workers and all front line healthcare workers cope and survive the worldwide pandemic. It made me proud to be a nurse. I loved how the various sessions and videos put our actions into words and photos.

The conference went on for three days with interesting and engaging Plenary and Concurrent Sessions on topics focused-on policy decisions, professional development, equity, diversity, and disaster preparedness, to name a few of the topics.

It was inspiring to hear the various sessions from nurse leaders worldwide and the impact of the nursing workforce on critical issues impacting people, global policies, and countries’ economies.

There were many themes, but here are my main takeaways:

  • The importance of investments in the health workforce, including nursing, for improved health, economic opportunity, and equity.
  • The importance of nurse leaders working together to ensure health equity around the world. A phrase that was mentioned several times throughout the event that illustrates the point, “none of us are safe unless we are all safe.”
  • The global need for an expanded and mobile workforce of well-educated nurses as well as strategies to advance the quality of nursing education and initiatives for retaining and retraining nurses will be explored.

I am still listening to many of the sessions and will share additional take away via social media so keep an eye out for more highlights!

On a closing note, I am excited to share that Dr. Pamela Cipriano is the incoming President of the International Council of Nurses. She is the immediate Past President of the American Nurses Association. I am pleased to say that I know her and am eager to watch how she leads this dynamic organization.  Click here to read her closing remarks from the Conference as she takes the baton from President Annette Kennedy.

In case you don’t know who the ICN is, here is an overview

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses’ associations (NNAs), representing more than 27 million nurses worldwide. Founded in 1899, ICN is the world’s first and widest reaching international organization for health professionals. Operated by nurses and leading nurses internationally, ICN works to ensure quality nursing care for all, sound health policies globally, the advancement of nursing knowledge, and the presence worldwide of a respected nursing profession and a competent and satisfied nursing workforce.

ICN’s ever-increasing networks and connections to people reinforce the importance of strong linkages with national, regional, and international nursing and non-nursing organizations. Building positive relationships internationally helps position ICN, nurses, and nursing for now and the future. Our work with the specialized agencies of the United Nations system, particularly with the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization, and the World Bank, are important for nurses everywhere. In addition, we work closely with a range of international non-governmental organizations and other partners.

Thanks for reading Nurse Advocate. I hope you have a good week.





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