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New president elected for International Council of Nurses

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Annette Kennedy has been elected as the new president of the International Council of Nurses along with a new board of directors.

Ms Kennedy, who is from Ireland, is described as having extensive experience in dealing with policy issues at high levels.

“I aim to ensure that this worldwide organisation is fit or purpose in the changing economic and healthcare environment”

Annette Kennedy

She was director of professional development at the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation for 19 years, from 1994-2012.

More recently, she served as vice president of the ICN from 2013-17 and also as president of the European Federation of Nurses (EFN) from 2005-07.

Ms Kennedy’s career has been marked by her contributions to the advancement of nursing, especially her work establishing Dublin’s Professional Development Centre, an education and research hub.

She was elected as the 28th council president at the latest meeting of its governing body – the Council of National Nursing Association Representatives – during the ICN International Congress.

Close to 8,108 nurses from 135 countries gathered at the congress, currently taking place in Barcelona in Spain, to share knowledge and discuss global healthcare priorities.

Ms Kennedy, who replaces Judith Shamian from Canada in the role of president, said: “I believe ICN has the potential to influence the delivery of global nursing care and health policy.

“Over the next four years I aim to ensure that this worldwide organisation is fit or purpose in the changing economic and healthcare environment, meeting the needs of our members and allowing them, in turn, to meet the needs of their patients/clients,” she said.

In addition, 13 new members have been elected to the ICN Executive Board, which is divided into seven geographical areas.

  • Thembeka Gwagwa from South Africa representing Area 1
  • Fatima Al Rifai from the Emirates representing Area 2
  • Ioannis Leontiou from Cyprus representing Area 2
  • Karen Bjoro from Norway representing Area 3
  • Brigita Skela-Savic from Slovenia representing Area 3
  • Roswitha Koch from Switzerland representing Area 4
  • Maria Eulalia from Juvé Spain representing Area 4
  • Pamela Cipriano from the United States representing Area 5
  • Lisa Little from Canada representing Area 5
  • Erika Caballero from Chile representing Area 6
  • Lian-Hua Huang from Taiwan representing Area 7
  • Sung Rae Shin from Korea representing Area 7
  • Wu Ying from China representing Area 7

Dr Frances Hughes, the ICN’s chief executive officer, said: “It is a great pleasure to congratulate Annette Kennedy and the new board members on their appointment.

“I look forward to working closely with them as we continue to move ICN forward to advance nursing, nurses and health around the world,” she added.

The ICN is a federation of more than 130 national nursing associations, representing the more than 16 million nurses worldwide and founded in 1899.

The council’s first president was the UK’s Ethel Bedford Fenwick, who served from 1899 to 1904. She was followed by fellow Briton Alicia Still from 1933-37.

Christine Hancock, a former general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, was the third UK nurse and the most recent to serve as president of the ICN, from 2001-05.

However, the UK is not currently represented by the council, following the RCN’s decision in 2013 to withdraw from the ICN.

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