The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations (NNAs), representing the more than 16 million nurses worldwide. Founded in 1899, ICN is the world’s first and widest reaching international organisation for health professionals. Operated by nurses and leading nurses internationally, ICN works to ensure quality nursing care for all, sound health policies globally, the advancement of nursing knowledge, and the presence worldwide of a respected nursing profession and a competent and satisfied nursing workforce.
ICN’s ever-increasing networks and connections to people reinforce the importance of strong linkages with national, regional and international nursing and non-nursing organisations. Building positive relationships internationally helps position ICN, nurses and nursing for now and the future. Our work with the specialised agencies of the United Nations system, particularly with the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organisation and the World Bank, are important for nurses everywhere. In addition, we work closely with a range of international non-governmental organisations.
ICN Goals and Values
Three goals and five core values guide and motivate all ICN activities.
The three goals are:
- to bring nursing together worldwide
- to advance nurses and nursing worldwide
- to influence health policy
The five core values are:
- Visionary Leadership
The ICN Code for Nurses is the foundation for ethical nursing practice throughout the world. ICN standards, guidelines and policies for nursing practice, education, management, research and socio-economic welfare are accepted globally as the basis of nursing policy.
ICN advances nursing, nurses and health through its policies, partnerships, advocacy, leadership development, networks, congresses, special projects, and by its work in the arenas of professional practice, regulation and socio-economic welfare. ICN is particularly active in:
Professional Nursing Practice
- International classification for nursing practice (ICNP®)
- Advanced nursing practice
- HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria
- Women’s health
- Primary health care
- Family health
- Safe water
- Regulation and Credentialing
- Code of ethics, standards and competencies
- Continuing education
Socio-economic Welfare for Nurses
- Occupational health and safety
- Human resources planning and policy
- Career development
- International trade in professional services
Our partnerships and strategic alliances with governmental and non-governmental agencies, foundations, regional groups, national associations, and individuals, assist ICN in advancing nursing worldwide.