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Building bridges in an uncertain world

Howard Catton reflects on his first months as nursing and health policy consultant at the International Council of Nurses
Howard Catton

Three months into my new role at the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and it is clear that nursing is high on the agenda of the big global institutions.

There is a United Nations Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth; a World Health Organization (WHO) strategy for nursing and midwifery; the sustainable development goals, including targets to improve health and wellbeing for all; and taskforces preparing for and responding to disasters, disease outbreaks and conflict around the world.

In May, I was at the annual meeting of the World Health Assembly - the decision-making arm of the WHO - in Geneva, Switzerland, attended by all 194 member states and delegates from several non-governmental organisations, including ICN. It is clear that political leaders understand the vital role nurses play in care delivery, but that doesn’t automatically translate to ensuring nursing has a seat at the top decision-making tables.

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