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Global nursing body announces sudden departure of leader

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The chief executive of the International Council of Nurses is to step down from her role, the global nursing body has announced.

Dr Frances Hughes has decided to leave the organisation, due to “unforeseen circumstances”, said the ICN in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“I would sincerely like to thank Dr Hughes for her great contribution”

Annette Kennedy

The ICN’s leadership board said it was working towards appointing an interim replacement “in the very short term” and start the recruitment process for a new chief executive “forthwith”.

New Zealander Dr Hughes, who is a trained general and mental health nurse, was appointed to the ICN role in December 2015 and took up the post in February 2016.

She has held the post of chief nurse and midwifery officer of Queensland in Australia since 2012 and was previously chief nurse at New Zealand’s health ministry for several years.

As a consultant at the World Health Organization and other non-government organisations, she has worked in Australia, South Pacific, the UK, Canada and Asia.

International Council of Nurses

Leading New Zealand nurse appointed head of ICN

Frances Hughes

Dr Hughes also previously held the position of commandant-colonel of the Royal New Zealand Army Nursing Corps and was the first professor of nursing at the University of Auckland.

ICN president Annette Kennedy said: “I would sincerely like to thank Dr Hughes for her great contribution and commitment to delivering on transformation of ICN.

“We wish her all the best for her future,” she said. “I am working closely with ICN staff to ensure the continuity of business and ensure that projects go ahead as planned.”

The ICN is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations and describes itself as working to “ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally”.

At present, there are no ICN members from the UK. The Royal College of Nursing pulled out of the council in 2014, following a long row about the distribution of financial contributions.

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