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Over 8,000 Nurses Attend International Council of Nurses Congress by Idowu Olabode : May 31, 2017, 05:28:04 AM
Over 8,000 nurses from more than 130 countries arrived yesterday in Barcelona, Spain to attend the International Council of Nurses (ICN) 2017 Congress.
This first day of the four-day event focused around nurses’ role in strengthening healthcare systems. The keynote speaker of the Congress, Dr Mary Wakefield (above), former Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, addressed the ways in which nurses must be proactively involved in health policy. She commended ICN on its 2017 International Nurses Day resources and evidence, Nurses: A Voice to Lead - Achieving the SDGs, emphasizing that it should be used with non-nursing audiences as it “underscores the SDGs and nurse-led solutions”.

She also commended ICN’s draft position statement on Migrant and Refugee Health, saying, “We have a duty to treat strangers and advocate for all.” Dr Wakefield also stressed that her background as a nurse was critical to her work in government, and that the profession has a responsibility to lead change.

The keynote speech was followed by a session on innovative primary care models with a panel of speakers including Jos de Blok, Founder and CEO of Buurtzog, Netherlands, a community-based service; Tine Hansen-Turton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Woods Services, USA, a leading advocacy and service organisation for people with exceptional challenges, disabilities and complex needs; Daryle Deering, a mental health nurse specialist from New Zealand, who specialises in addiction, and Heather Casey, a mental health nurse from New Zealand, who is past President and fellow of Te Ao Maramatanga: The College of Mental Health
Nurses in New Zealand.

A number of speakers took about the critical role of NNAs advocating for the profession, nurse and nurse led models. Tine Hansen-Turton gave the example of advanced practice nurse-led retail clinics, located where people do their shopping, which have overcome the financial, regulatory and attitudinal barriers to nurse-led clinics.
In the afternoon, participants had the opportunity to listen to presentation from Lord Nigel Crisp (below), Co-Chair of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global Health, and Maria Eulalia Juve Udina, Deputy Director of Care at the Catalan Institute if Health, who discussed how the challenges that emerge with the increased globalisation of societies underpin new health issues; the acute understanding nurses have of these social determinants of health and the fact that nurses are best placed to respond to them Lord Crisp discussed the APPG report on the triple impact of nursing. The report came to three conclusions. The first was that “The world won’t achieve its great global target unless we develop nursing because nurses are half the workforce and we won’t achieve universal health coverage without that.” The second was that nurses are not only undervalued they are underutilised, meaning they are not able to use their skills to the fullest. The third conclusion was that if you develop nursing you will:
- Improve health
- Promote gender equality; and
- Promote economies.
This is the triple impact of nursing
Lord Crisp acknowledged that ICN were very important partners and ICN leadership programme is “part of the future”. The Congress’ Policy Café provided participants face to face time with speakers in order to exchange ideas and gain a better understanding of their innovative work.

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