The international congress of nurses held in Singapore from 27 June to 1 July 2019, welcomed more than 5300 nurses from over 150 countries. During this global event titled Beyond Healthcare to Health, the participants discussed the potential of the nursing profession making more than half of the health workforce, to contribute to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage and UN Sustainable Development Goals.    

The importance of the event is evident from the fact that the president of Singapore and the WHO General Director attended and in their speeches stressed the irreplaceable role of nurses in health systems. In honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the World Health Assembly has declared the year of 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”. The WHO has recently inaugurated a position of the Chief Nursing Officer and I planning to prepare a world’s report on nursing that will be critical in guiding international policy related to nursing.

In order to achieve „health for all“, the importance of nurses needs to be adequately recognized and acknowledged and their status improved, while they should be enabled to participate as leaders in decision-making processes. There is a need to invest in the nursing profession, increase the number of nurses and introduce innovative practice.

The following areas are becoming more and more important: i) regulation of the nursing profession, ii) further strengthening of primary health care and the role of nurses within it, iii) collection of data needed to plan nurse workforce, iv) building leadership in nursing.

The congress was organized by the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the largest and most important global platform gathering more than 130 nurse organizations and 20 million of nurses from all over the world.  This organization that celebrates its 120th anniversary this year, is having a growing importance in creation of health/nurse policies globally. The president of the ICN emphasized the importance of gender equity and of improving the position of women in society by improving the position and working environment of nurses, majority of whom are women.

The congress was also an opportunity to promote ICN-supported social movement Nursing Now, a global campaign to improve the status and profile of nurses so they can take the leading role in tackling 21st century health challenges. Within the campaign, an initiative called Nightingale Challenge has been recently launched, inviting health employers to provide a leadership and development training to a group of young nurses and midwifes in the coming 2020, the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The aim is to equip and empower the next generation of nurses and midwives as leaders, practitioners and advocates in health.

Representatives of ProSes had the opportunity to meet several important members of ICN Board of Directors, present the project and within it developed Handbook on Standard Operating Procedures for Nurses on Primary Healthcare Level, and discuss the possibility for organizing training in leadership for nurses.

Additional information:

Congress report_ICN 2019, Singapore (BHS only) - PDF document