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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.

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

  • 2021 ICN Congress, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • 2023 ICN Congress, Montreal, Quebec — CNA is a co-host of this event. Read the news release.