The events of 2016 changed the world. Donald Trump and Brexit and the rise of the right, whether or not the events aforementioned are linked. Let’s also not forget the Zika virus, the Syrian refugee crisis and how in 2016, cases of measles grew by 30% and that is a trend we’ve continued to see increase. Society is changing, the healthcare needs of communities are growing and the profession of nursing has to change and grow along with it.
The nursing now program is a three year campaign aiming to improve health globally and empowering nurses. Whilst at the launch of Nursing Now England, Lord Nigel Crisp stated “change for nurses will also impact on people and health”. Those words stuck with me. A positive change for nurses = positive impact on people = positive change on health of a community.
So how does this relate to the International Council of Nurses? Nursing is a global profession. Whilst health care issues around the world vary, the compassion and caring nurses feel are the same. As nurses, we have an obligation and the opportunity to learn and share practice. The ICN say they exist to represent nursing worldwide, advance the nursing profession, promote the well-being of nurses, and advocate for health in all policies. Why wouldn’t we want to be involved in some way with that?
As many people will know, the Royal College of Nursing, one of the best well known nursing organisations in the world (in my opinion), ought to light and lead the way in this obligation. Many look to the UK for an example. And if they can, why shouldn’t the Royal College of Nursing do more in terms of sharing, influencing use of and supporting good evidence based practice.
So what about the cost? After all, wasn’t money a reason why the RCN considered leaving the ICN in the first place? Does showing global unity in a time of turmoil out weight the cost? This is a very personal and perhaps deep question. Members are entitled to want value for money. After all, it is their subscriptions which will pay for this. It may be worth mentioning that according to the latest RCN Council meeting, the college is in a ‘solid financial position’ with a surplus, after tax, of £9.9million. What matters to members? After recent reports of golden goodbyes, are we really number crunching on global unity?
Nursing is a global endeavour, every where in the world needs nurses. I saw this wonderful quote recently “Nurses need to speak with one voice no matter what language the message has to be clear.” In an ever changing world, nursing is a constant. Whether the RCN membership makes the decision to rejoin the ICN or not. Nursing will go on. However, we as members must be informed and aware of all sides of the discussion in order to make an informed choice. It is our responsibility for to look at the financial cost and the perceived benefits, whilst considering the global health economy, the identity of the profession, the potential for political influence our united voice has and other issues that we as global nurses face every day.
Dann Gooding is a Staff Nurse