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Canadian Nurses Welcome the Global Nursing Community to the ICN Congress in July

By Nora Whyte RN, MSN


The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is hosting the 2023 ICN Congress in Montreal this summer from July 1 to 5. This will be the fourth time that Canada hosts a congress: the previous locations and dates were Vancouver in 1997 and Montreal in 1929 and 1969. The theme - Nurses Together: A Force for Global Health - provides inspiration during troubling times for the profession and the world. We'll hear perspectives on current global health challenges and examples from leaders in other countries on solutions to common issues facing the profession. We can expect to hear from authors of recent policy reports such as Recover to Rebuild and from representatives of the World Health Organization and the World Bank.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nursing associations representing 28 million nurses worldwide. Nurses in Canada are connected to ICN through membership in CNA, our national professional association. Founded in 1899, the ICN's mission is "to represent nursing worldwide, advance the nursing profession, promote the wellbeing of nurses, and advocate for health in all policies." Canadian nurses have a strong history of contributing to ICN through the Board of Directors and in senior staff positions. The president of CNA represents Canada on ICN's governing body, the Council of National Nursing Association Representatives.

Past congresses I have attended have always had topics of relevance to our Canadian nursing and health care system, especially in recent years as we have faced changes in regulation, education and supports for practice. It helps to gain an appreciation for our interconnectedness in nursing globally by participating in sessions and meeting nurses from other countries. I have come away inspired by the speakers and stories I have heard. The social aspect is memorable also with receptions, meals and informal dialogue during poster and concurrent sessions.

At this congress, participants will hear about progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and developments on achieving universal health coverage. I'm looking forward to sessions profiling national nursing associations and their advocacy activities. For Canadian nurses, it's a great opportunity to see our CNA and CFNU leaders in action on the global stage and to meet some of the ICN Board Members. We will have an opportunity to learn about developments in Indigenous Health Nursing from the group of leaders holding Research Chairs in Nursing through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Sessions in Montreal will be organized around eight sub-themes for presentations, posters, and policy discussions:

  1. Nursing leadership: shaping the future of healthcare;
  2. The critical role of nurses in emergency and disaster management;
  3. Driving the professional practice of nursing through regulation and education;
  4. Improving the quality and safety of healthcare delivery;
  5. Advancing nursing practice: pushing the boundaries;
  6. Growing and sustaining the nursing workforce;
  7. Promoting and enabling healthier communities; and
  8. Addressing global health priorities and strengthening health systems.

Throughout the Congress, delegates have opportunities to participate in informal Policy Cafés for discussion with selected experts. Planetary health, mental health nursing and gender equity are among the policy topics for these interactive sessions.

There is also a full day Student Assembly scheduled for June 30. It will provide students the opportunity to connect, explore and collaborate on priority issues selected by students themselves. The Student Assembly is open to undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate nursing students.

Standard registration rates are available until June 15. Please note that there is a student rate (with proof of student status) and a discounted rate for nurses who are members of the Canadian Nurses Association. I value my CNA membership and our connection to ICN where Canadian nursing leaders have made a major contribution for many decades.

To members and friends of NNPBC, it will be great to have a strong contingent of BC nurses at this ICN Congress on Canadian soil as we embrace the opportunity of Nurses Together: A Force for Global Health.

Author Biography

Nora Whyte, RN, MSN, is a proud member of NNPBC and CNA, and is a BCCNM registrant. She has attended past ICN congresses in Vancouver, Durban, Barcelona and Singapore in addition to the virtual congress held in 2021. She acknowledges with respect that she lives and works on the Unceded traditional territory of the K'òmoks First Nation.

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