Career advice

Nurse leaders: learn how to shape policy

Nurses should have a say in policy-making at all levels, but many feel they lack the skills to get involved. A new programme from the International Council for Nurses is aiming to bridge the confidence gap.
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Nurses should have a say in policy-making at all levels, but many feel they lack the skills to get involved. A new programme from the International Council for Nurses is aiming to bridge the confidence gap

Applications are now open for a new programme that will bring together nurse leaders from around the world to improve their policy-making and influencing skills.

Run by the International Council of Nurses and funded by the Burdett Trust, the Global Nursing Policy Leadership Institute hopes to attract 30 senior nurse leaders to take part in a week-long course in Geneva from 8-15 September.

'There are many courses available for nurses in leadership, but policy is a gap,' says the programme's co-director, Jane Salvage. 'There is arguably

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Nurses should have a say in policy-making at all levels, but many feel they lack the skills to get involved. A new programme from the International Council for Nurses is aiming to bridge the confidence gap


The course gives participants the chance to share good practice, tips and ideas to
help them develop their competences. Picture: iStock

Applications are now open for a new programme that will bring together nurse leaders from around the world to improve their policy-making and influencing skills.

Run by the International Council of Nurses and funded by the Burdett Trust, the Global Nursing Policy Leadership Institute hopes to attract 30 senior nurse leaders to take part in a week-long course in Geneva from 8-15 September.

'There are many courses available for nurses in leadership, but policy is a gap,' says the programme's co-director, Jane Salvage. 'There is arguably more awareness than there's ever been that nurses need to be engaged in policy at all levels. Even when we're sitting at top tables – and we aren't often enough – we're not necessarily confident or skilled enough to be able to intervene effectively.'

Nurses taking part in a similar ICN leadership programme last year identified policy as a high priority, but an area where they felt they lacked skills. This course aims to plug that gap, using action learning that gives participants the chance to share good practice, tips and ideas to help them develop their skills. 'They won't sit in a classroom being lectured,' says Ms Salvage.

Shape and inform 

Participants will set their own objectives ahead of the course and leave with an individual development plan to put into practice in their workplaces. The programme also offers nurses the chance to network with colleagues from around the globe. Last year's programme included 27 nurses from 20 countries.

'Those coming from the UK and other industrialised nations will be sitting alongside those who work in very resource-poor countries,' says Ms Salvage. 'But when you listen and see what they're doing with almost nothing, except a strong will and energy, you find they can make astonishing changes. It's a rare learning opportunity.'

For nurse leader's in the UK who are facing their own challenges in being listened to, the programme is especially timely, Ms Salvage believes. 'The UK has long been an example that others have looked up to in terms of nursing engagement at the highest levels, but sadly that seems not always to be the case at the moment,' she says.

'We still have to fight hard for our place at the top table, so we can't rest on our laurels. We can learn from others about different ways they may have for ensuring that the nursing voice is heard.'

Equipping nurses to play an active role in policy-making is vital for better health outcomes and quality of care, says Ms Salvage. 'Nurses bring a unique perspective. We're at the centre of many of the world's health challenges – so if we're not helping to shape and inform, we can't help to meet them.'

To apply 

Applications are open until 14 April for senior nurses, including nursing directors in the public and independent sectors, university deans, research heads and senior nurses working in nursing associations, government and non-governmental organisations.

Bursaries are available to low-income applicants.

To apply go to www.icn.ch


Lynne Pearce is a freelance health writer

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