As I write this, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) 25th Quadrennial Congress is drawing to a close. Australia’s ICN partners, the Australian College of Nursing and the Australian Nursing Federation, were proud to host this six day international event in Melbourne from 18 – 23 May 2013. It is the first time in over 50 years ICN Congress, the largest international nursing event, has been held in Australia.
Almost 4,000 nurses from more than 100 countries have gathered together to discuss issues affecting nurses and our key role in improving equity and access to health care.
ICN believes that one of the best ways to achieve universal access to health care is to maximise the potential of nurses through innovative models of care; working to full and, at times, expanded scope of practice; and a clear role in policy.
The Congress kicked off with the Nursing Student Assembly on Saturday morning, followed by a spectacular Opening Ceremony on Saturday night. This ceremony included the traditional Parade of Nations – ICN Member Associations, including the newest members China and Palestine; and the formal international award presentations. The four day Scientific Program began in earnest on Sunday morning.
Topics covered at ICN Congress have included: the nursing workforce and workplace; equity, ethics and human rights; direct care and patient safety; nursing education and the learning environment; climate change; natural and man-made disasters; migration; ageing; care systems and access; quality and economics; health technology; infectious diseases such as TB and HIV; management; health and wellbeing; nursing history; changing scope of practice; regulation of the profession of nurses and nursing; rural nursing; leadership issues; advanced practice; and workplace violence. Like nursing itself, an incredibly broad and diverse range of areas to address and further explore. There were in excess of 550 presentations given in the Scientific Program and 590 posters on display.
The ICN Congress has provided a great opportunity for the ANF and our Australian nursing colleagues to raise and discuss the issues and challenges faced by Australia’s nursing workforce; to demonstrate how nurses are at the centre of the delivery of safe patient care across the country’s health and aged care sectors.
The Congress has allowed us to debate, share and learn from one another across the globe - an opportunity that Australian nurses have been able to take.
Senior Federal Professional Officer