Howard Catton and former President Judith Shamian say nursing leaders must increase their influence in policymaking at the highest level

31 August 2023
WS 41

In recent years many nurses have gained access to positions in policymaking arenas that have increased the influence of the profession and improved outcomes for patients and their families.

But in many cases the voices of such nurses are not listened to, and they are not given the power, funding and resources they need to optimise the positive effects of a well-supported nursing workforce.

That is the message in a new article by ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton and former ICN President Judith Shamian. The article, entitled Nurses and policy making: You have a seat at the table, so what?’, explores the importance of nurses who have accessed these influential positions being able to contribute to the dialogue effectively.

In the article, first published online in Nursing Times, Mr Catton and Dr Shamian highlight some of the obstructions nurse leaders face and how to overcome them.

The authors said the fact that nurses are accessing more senior and influential positions is to be welcomed, but it was also essential such positions were accompanied with the necessary authority. They suggest that CNO roles can only succeed and create the necessary impact and influence if they are given adequate executive power, properly resourced and have a lead role in the formal decision-making process. If these conditions are not met the CNO roles are set up for failure, playing into the hands of those in authority who do not want to give nursing, a gendered profession, a seat of power.

Mr Catton and Dr Shamian said what is needed is for every country to appoint a government-level executive Chief Nursing Officer who has power and authority over nursing, an appropriate budget to get things done, and who confidently contributes to government in the healthcare arena and in other policy areas.

And they said that aspiring nurse leaders should be properly prepared for their roles by taking part in suitable programmes, such as ICN’s own Global Nursing Leadership Institute.

To read the article please go here

Read the pdf version of the article here