Nurses globally unite to share best practice at the ICN Biennial Congress

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) Biennial Congress three day event held this week attracted more than 5,500 nurses from 132 countries where nurses and nurse academics shared their experiences and presented their research with the intention of disseminating best practice around the world.


The ANMJ along with the UK’s Nursing Times and the US’ American Journal of Nursing were proud media sponsors of the event.

Held virtually for the first time and co-hosted this year by the Emirates Nursing Association, the Congress included six plenary sessions with expert speakers from across the globe including Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, Mr Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations General Secretary, Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile, Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organization, and the Right Honourable Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, amongst others.

Amongst the celebrities and world leaders opening the event were Oprah Winfrey, global media leader and philanthropist, who offered her “deep heartfelt gratitude” to nurses “who selflessly serve each patient who comes through the door”.

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary people, and nurses have time and time again answered that call, so my hope for you all as you gather with one another, as you acknowledge the tremendous weight and burden you have been shouldering, is that you continue to hold one another up and that you offer yourselves in grace to one another,” she said expressing her admiration and respect for nurses.

Pope Francis, sent a letter to ICN in advance of the Congress, writing to express his gratitude to nurses “for their selfless dedication shown at every stage of this global health crisis” and added that, “he trusts the Congress will reaffirm nurses around the world in their concern for the integral welfare of the patients entrusted to their care, and draw attention to the irreplaceable service that they provide for the good of society.”

While guest of honour at the opening ceremony, Her Royal Highness Princess Muna al Hussein of Jordan, said in her address that it was clear that our best defence for future pandemics or any crisis, would be a solid, comprehensive health system that built on core public health competencies and aligns across all levels of government to achieve universal health coverage and to ensure the right to health for all while leaving no one behind.

“In this connection, can nurses play a key role in navigating the future of healthcare and contributing to building a stronger and equitable health system of their nations? The answer is: absolutely yes, they can,” she said.

ICN President Annette Kennedy, who opened the Congress spoke about how nurses transformed care during the pandemic.

‘The immense commitment and courage that nurses have demonstrated during this pandemic make me optimistic for the future and I urge nurses to seize the opportunity to make their voices heard, despite the serious challenges ahead. We will carry on the legacy of ICN through leadership, working together and political influence.”

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