International Council of Nurses
|Full name||International Council of Nurses|
Judith Shamian, President
|Office location||Geneva, Switzerland|
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations. It was founded in 1899 and was the first international organization for health care professionals. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
The organization's goals are to bring nurses' organizations together in a worldwide body, to advance the socio-economic status of nurses and the profession of nursing worldwide, and to influence global and domestic health policy.
Membership is limited to one nursing organization per nation. In most cases, this is the national nurses' association (such as the American Nurses Association, the Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives or the Nursing Association of Nepal). In 2001, the ICN permitted its members to adopt alliance or collaborative structures to be more inclusive of other domestic nursing groups. However, few member organizations have adopted the new structures.
History and organization
The ICN was founded in 1899 with Great Britain, the United States, and Germany as charter members.The ICN is governed by a Council of National Representatives (CNR). The CNR is the governing body of the ICN and sets policy, admits members, selects a board of directors, and sets dues. As of 2013, there were 135 National Representatives (one for each member organization). National Representatives are selected by each member association. The CNR meets every two years.
Between meetings of the CNR, the ICN is governed by a 16-member board of directors. Members of the board include the ICN president and 15 directors elected on the basis of proportional representation from the ICN's seven geographic areas. Directors are term-limited to two consecutive four-year terms of office. The board meets at least once a year, although it usually meets three to four times a year.
The ICN has four officers. They include a president and three vice presidents. The officers function as an executive committee for the board, and as the board's budget and finance committee. The president is elected by the CNR. The president serves a four-year term of office, and is limited to one term in office. The vice presidents are elected from among the board members. The highest vote-getter is the First Vice President, the second-highest vote-getter the Second Vice President and the third-highest vote-getter the Third Vice President.
Day-to-day operations of the ICN are overseen by a chief executive officer (CEO). In practice, the CEO exercises most of the power within the ICN.
Conferences and projects
The ICN hosts a quadrennial conference every four years in conjunction with the meeting of the CNR. The conference hosts a large number of professional practice workshops, poster sessions, luncheons, speaking events and plenary sessions.
ICN hosts other conferences on an as-needed basis. Recent conferences have covered topics such as international nurse migration issues, regulation of the profession of nurses, rural nursing, leadership issues, advance practice issues, and workplace violence.
The ICN is an official supporting organization of Healthcare Information For All by 2015.
- The ICN has been criticized for this restriction, as some ICN members are too financially insecure or organizationally immature to be effective participants. Other organizations may be unrepresentative of nurses in their home country, by virtue of membership size, or the nature of the membership (e.g., the American Nurses Association is dominated by managers rather than frontline nurses).
- International Council of Nurses. From Vision to Action: ICN in the 21st Century. Geneva, Switzerland: ICN, 2003.