UK nurse Howard Catton named chief executive of the International Council of Nurses

The ex-RCN policy head wants to push the case for investment in nurses ‘harder than ever’

The ex-RCN policy head wants to push the case for investment in nurses ‘harder than ever’

Howard Catton. Picture: Barney Newman

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has appointed Howard Catton as its new chief executive.

Mr Catton, who moved from the RCN to become ICN director of nursing policy and programmes in 2016, takes up the role with immediate effect. He has been registered since 1988 and has held a range of nursing posts in the UK and United States.

Global leadership role

He said it was an 'absolute honour' to lead the organisation, which is a federation of 130 national nursing associations representing 20 million nurses worldwide.

The RCN resigned from the Geneva-based organisation in 2014, stating it could not justify the £500,000 membership fee, although a call for it to rejoin is due to be debated at the college's congress in May.

Mr Catton, who was head of policy and international affairs at the RCN, said it was a significant time for nurses, with the profession playing a critical role in addressing global health challenges.

'Whether it be improving access to healthcare, addressing non-communicable diseases, managing health emergencies or improving public health, it is nurses who in their daily practice will make a real difference to peoples’ lives.

'Of course, there are challenges – the shortages of nurses, poor pay and working conditions and the growing demand on health services – however, now it is the time to push harder than we ever have before and make both the health improvement and economic case for investing in nursing.'

The state of the profession worldwide

Mr Catton, an occasional Nursing Standard columnist, said the ICN is working on a report with the World Health Organization and nurse leaders from around the world about the state of the profession globally. The report is expected to be published next year.

ICN president Annette Kennedy said of Mr Catton's appointment: 'His international experience, his close ties with so many of our key partners, and his deep understanding of the work of ICN, gives the board and me great confidence in his leadership.'

Mr Catton takes over from Thomas Kearns, who led the ICN on an interim basis since October 2017.

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