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Nurses say ‘yes’ to joining worldwide nursing network

RCN members want to see college return to the International Council of Nurses
Logo of the International Council of Nurses, which the RCN has voted to rejoin

RCN members want to see college back inside the ICN after its withdrawal eight years ago over concerns about membership fees that ran into hundreds of thousands of pounds

Nurses in the RCN have voted to join a worldwide nursing network that represents 27 million of their peers.

The college walked away from the International Council of Nurses (ICN) eight years ago, saying it could not justify the hundreds of thousands of pounds in annual subscription.

But now, members say they want to be in the Geneva-based federation once again.

Access to global healthcare policymakers

130

The number of countries with national nursing associations in the ICN

Source:

RCN members want to see college back inside the ICN after its withdrawal eight years ago over concerns about membership fees that ran into hundreds of thousands of pounds

Logo of the International Council of Nurses, which the RCN has voted to rejoin

Nurses in the RCN have voted to join a worldwide nursing network that represents 27 million of their peers.

The college walked away from the International Council of Nurses (ICN) eight years ago, saying it could not justify the hundreds of thousands of pounds in annual subscription.

But now, members say they want to be in the Geneva-based federation once again.

Access to global healthcare policymakers

130

The number of countries with national nursing associations in the ICN

Source: ICN

Nurses who campaigned for the college’s return claim ICN membership will give UK nurses access to research and education work, as well as greater influence on healthcare policy at the highest level.

Coordinator of the We Are Global Nurses group Paul Jebb, who is associate chief nurse at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘Now we need to make sure we get the benefits of the ICN.

‘It’s about implementing global policy right up to the World Health Organization and other organisations globally.

‘It’s also about enabling and empowering nurses in the UK to access research and some of the ICN’s work on education on training on leadership development as well as influencing global policy.’

Warning over the cost of ICN membership

A prominent opponent of the RCN’s return to the federation has been former college chief executive Peter Carter. It was under his leadership that the RCN pulled out in 2013.

Writing for Nursing Standard last week, he predicted renewed membership could cost the college as much as £450,000 a year.

However, the ICN president said in 2015 the RCN could be assured it would pay no more than £340,000 if it were to re-join.

Responding to the vote to rejoin, ICN chief executive Howard Catton said he welcomed the news and looked forward to working with the RCN on next steps.

'The pandemic has shown that no nation can tackle global health issues alone, and that we must work together to create sustainable health systems for all, where no-one is left behind.'

He added: 'We will continue to be transparent and member-led, aiming to ensure that nurses’ voices are heard and that they are at the centre of decision-making as we tackle the pandemic and its aftermath, and all the other burning international health issues that can only be solved through global solidarity in action.'

ICN membership: how RCN members voted

RCN members voted at the college’s virtual annual meeting on 14 May.

  • 9,800 out of a membership of 450,000 voted
  • 85% (7,613) voted in favour of re-joining the ICN
  • 15% (1,375) voted against
  • 812 abstained

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