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International Council of Nurses


Annette Kennedy, ICN President
2017-2021

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of national nursing associations representing nurses in more than 130 countries, including Canada. Founded in 1899, ICN is the world’s first and widest-reaching international organization for health professionals. CNA has been a member of ICN since CNA’s inception in 1908. In February 2016, Frances Hughes was appointed chief executive officer of ICN.

Operated by nurses for nurses, ICN works in the following areas:

  • Professional nursing practice (e.g., advancing nursing knowledge to ensure quality nursing care for all and advocacy for sound health policies globally)
  • Nursing regulation (e.g., credentialing, code of ethics, standards and competencies)
  • Socio-economic welfare for nurses (e.g., occupational health and safety, human resources planning and policy, remuneration, career development)

Canadians at ICN
Canadian nurses have a proud tradition of international involvement and leadership at ICN:

  • Former CNA director of Public Policy, Lisa Little, was elected as the 2017-2021 board member for Region V.
  • Judith Shamian, past president of CNA (2010-2012), past president of ICN (2013-2017)
  • One Canadian is a past president (Alice Girard) and five are past vice-presidents (Helen Glass, Helen Evans, Alice Baumgart, Eleanor Ross and Verna Huffman Splane).
  • CNA former executive director Judith Oulton was CEO for 12 years, until 2008.
  • Former CNA president Marlene Smadu was elected third vice-president in 2009 and an ICN board member until 2017.
  • Former CNA director Jean Barry was named consultant, nursing and health policy (2010-2016).

ICN Events

  • June 28-July 1, 2019, ICN Congress, Singapore
  • 2021 ICN Congress, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates