International Council of Nurses

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
International Council of Nurses
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
  • International
Key people
Dr Pamela Cipriano, President

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, ic 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).[1] In 2001, ICN permitted its members to adopt alliance or collaborative structures to be more inclusive of other domestic nursing groups.[2] However, few member organizations have adopted the new structures.

History and organization[edit]

The ICN was first proposed in 1899[3] at the Congress of the International Council of Women by Mrs Bedford Fenwick at a day devoted to consideration of nursing questions.[4] The aim was to create a network of national nursing associations, with the objective of raising the standards of nurse education and professional ethics for the public good.[4] A provisional committee was formed of nurses from Great Britain, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands and Denmark.[4] The first constitution and officials were elected in 1900: Mrs Bedford Fenwick (Great Britain) president, Miss Lavinia Dock (United States) honorary treasurer and Miss M Agnes Snively (Canada) honorary treasurer.[5] In 1901, at the International Congress of Nurses (held at the Pan-American Exposition ) the ICN adopted a resolution in favor of nurse registration.[6] The ICN first quinquennial meeting was held in 1904 in Berlin by which time Great Britain, the United States and Germany had national nursing organizations affiliated to the ICN.[4]

Interim Conferences of the International Council of Nurses were held in Paris (1907) and Geneva (1927).[7] There was an International Council of Nurses Congress in London in 1937. In 1947 it was in Atlantic City and it was in Rome in 1957.[8]

Daisy Bridges was the General Secretary of the ICN until she retired in 1961.[9] She later published A history of the International Council of Nurses 1899-1964 : the first 65 years in 1967[10] which she compiled during her retirement.[11]


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.[citation needed]

Between meetings of the CNR, ICN is governed by a 16-member board of directors. Members of the board include ICN president and 13 directors elected on the basis of proportional representation from 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.

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 ICN are overseen by a chief executive officer (CEO) who works in close collaboration with the ICN President.

Conferences and projects[edit]

ICN hosts a Congress every two years in conjunction with the meeting of the CNR. The congress 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 regulation of the profession of nurses, socio-economic welfare issues, leadership issues and advanced practice issues.

ICN sponsors International Nurses' Day every May 12 (the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birthday).

Official Journal of ICN: International Nursing Review (INR). This is a highly respected, scientific journal with an impact factor and a readership in around 135 countries. It has been published since 1953, when it replaced an earlier ICN publication. The journal's Editor in Chief is Dr Sue Turale, who is supported by two Associate Editors, Dr Pamela Mitchell from Seattle, Washington USA, and Dr Tracey McDonald from Sydney, Australia. INR is a major voice of ICN, and a peer-reviewed journal that focuses predominantly on nursing policy and health policy issues of relevance to nursing. It is published online and in hard copy 4 times a year in English, and also translated into Spanish and Chinese. INR was admitted in to the prestigious Nursing Journal Hall of Fame in 2016 by the International Academy of Nurse Editors (INANE). [12]

Presidents of ICN[edit]

Annette Kennedy

Country represented in brackets.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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).
  2. ^ International Council of Nurses. From Vision to Action: ICN in the 21st Century. Geneva, Switzerland: ICN, 2003.
  3. ^ For the ICN's history before World War I see: Aeleah Soine: „The Relation of the Nurse to the Working World.“ Professionalization, Citizenship, and Class in Germany, Great Britain, and the United States before World War I. In: Nursing History Review 18 (2010), p. 51–80.
  4. ^ a b c d Seymour, L. R. (1949). A General History of Nursing (2nd ed.). Londdon: Faber and Faber Ltd. pp. 272–273.
  5. ^ "The International Council of Nurses". The Nursing Record & Hospital World. 25 (640): 7. 7 July 1900 – via Women's Studies Archive/RCN historical nursing journals.
  6. ^ Own correspondent (1 Dec 1901). "Report of the International Congress of Nurses, Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo". Nursing Notes. 14 (168): 159 – via Women's Studies Archive & Royal College of Nursing Historical Nursing Journals.
  7. ^ "The Passing Bell". The Nursing Record. 78 (1940): 78. 1930.
  8. ^ Capper, Betty, "Irene Slater Hall (1888–1961)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, retrieved 2023-10-22
  9. ^ Quinn, D. S. (1989). "ICN--past and present". International Nursing Review. 36 (6): 174–175. ISSN 0020-8132. PMID 2613461.
  10. ^ C., Bridges, D. A history of the International Council of Nurses 1899-1964 : the first 65 years. Pitman Medical. OCLC 1169853353.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Matthew, H. C. G.; Harrison, B., eds. (2004-09-23). "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. ref:odnb/61368. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/61368. Retrieved 2023-04-26. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  12. ^ "[No title found]". International Nursing Review. doi:10.1111/(ISSN)1466-7657.
  13. ^ "Jayne Elliott, One Hundred Years of Service, CNA 2008, pp192-4" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-04. Retrieved 2016-09-15.

External links[edit]