GCEF coordinators build capacity and leadership skills

The in-country Coordinators of the Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF) in Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia participated in a workshop focused on strengthening capacity and developing leadership, management and technology skills. The workshop, led by Linda Carrier-Walker, ICN Director of Development and External Affairs, took place from 21–23 September in Lusaka, Zambia.

The Coordinators are: Faith Mbehero, Kenya; Tiny Dlamini, Swaziland; Patrick Bateganya, Uganda; and Jennifer Munsaka, Zambia.

The GCEF is an initiative of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and its sister organisation, the Florence Nightingale International Foundation (FNIF).

The GCEF supports the primary and secondary schooling of 278 girls under the age of 18 whose nurse parent or parents have died.

Thom Yungana, President of the Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation, the ICN member association, gave the opening address. Paula DeCola, RN, MSc, Senior Director of Pfizer External Medical Affairs and champion of the GCEF, led a session designed to build leadership skills. Workshop participants also met with the Zambian Ministry of Education.

A contribution of US$ 200 helps to cover the costs of uniforms, schoolbooks, and fees for the primary education of a girl child for one year, and US$ 600 for secondary education. Approximately US$ 5000 will secure the education of a girl throughout her primary and secondary schooling years. Contributions can be made on the following secure online site: http://www.fnif.org/girlfund.htm.

Additional information about the GCEF can be found at http://www.fnif.org and http://www.icn.ch.

Senior nurse executives develop leadership skills at global institute

Distinguished nurse leaders from across all world regions graduated from the 2011 Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI) held in September in Geneva. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) established the GNLI in 2009 to provide an advanced leadership programme for nurses in senior and executive level positions in developed and developing countries.

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[ Twenty-seven distinguished nurse leaders from 25 countries graduated from the 2011 Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI) held in Geneva. Shown seated are: (left to right) Jintana Yunibhand, President, Nurses Association of Thailand, the graduate who gave the valedictory address; Jack Gibbs, Trustee, Burdett Trust for Nursing; David Benton, ICN CEO; Professor Sheila Tlou, Director, UNAIDS Regional Support Team for East and Southern Africa; and Dr Stephanie Ferguson who directed the 2011 GNLI. Photo credit: Lorenzo Chiriatti, ICN. ]

‘Investing in nursing and the strengthening of senior nurse leaders has never beenmore important for the health of populations everywhere’, stated David Benton, ICN Chief Executive Officer. ‘ICN is immensely appreciative of the generous support from the Burdett Trust for Nursing and Pfizer Medical External Affairs. Significantly, this support has enabled bursaries for 16 GNLI graduates this year alone’.

Twenty-seven participants, coming from 25 countries, were selected from among 105 applicants for the five-day advanced leadership programme. Class members had, on average, 28 years of professional experience. Participants hold a variety of senior positions including chief nursing officers; presidents and officers of national nursing organisations; directors of nursing, deans and associate professors; and representatives from regulatory bodies and speciality service areas. The broad range of countries and professional experience created a rich learning environment in which participants discussed and debated current and future health and nursing challenges.

The GNLI employs an action-learning approach. Participants analyse strategic global leadership by observing in action a variety of global leaders, and international agencies and non-governmental organisations, including the World Health Organization.

‘The importance of this initiative cannot be underestimated’, said Jack Gibbs, Trustee for the Burdett Trust for Nursing. ‘Particularly at this time when many countries are struggling to make savings, excellent and influential nurses leaders have a major contribution in ensuring governments make the right choices on health’.

Dr Stephanie Ferguson directed the 2011 GNLI. She is Associate Professor and Director of the Community Nursing Organization at the Virginia Commonwealth University, USA. Dr Ferguson served as the Director of the ICN Leadership for Change™ Program from 2003–2008 and is again filling that position.

Faculty included Kathleen Fritsch, World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Nursing Adviser; Dr Diana J. Mason, Co-Director of the Hunter College Center for Health, Media, and Policy, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, USA; Professor Sheila Tlou, Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for East and Southern Africa; and Professor Ginka Toegel of the IMD School of Business.

Also participating were: David C. Benton, ICN Chief Executive Officer; Dr Tesfamicael Ghebrehiwet, ICN Consultant, Nursing & Health Policy; and Jack Gibbs, the Burdett Trust for Nursing.

‘Having been part of GNLI since its inception, I have seen the program develop and mature’, said Paula DeCola, Senior Director, Pfizer Medical External Affairs. ‘The GNLI's growth mirrors the expansion of creativity and innovation demonstrated by the nurse leaders from around the world who have attended this educational experience. It has enabled them to further unleash their potential’.

Joined by ambassadors of many of their countries and representatives of GNLI sponsors, the Burdett Trust for Nursing and Pfizer Inc, graduates concluded their intensive week of in-residence study, reflection and exposure to global institutions with a special graduation ceremony. Jintana Yunibhand, President of the Nurses Association of Thailand, gave a valedictory address.

ICN has been a pioneer in leadership, management and negotiation skill development for nurses for more than 20 years through the highly successful Leadership for Change™ and Leadership in Negotiation programmes. The GNLI represents the third component of ICN's leadership development strategy.

The application process for the next GNLI, to be held from 8–14 September 2012, is underway and the closing date is 15 February 2012. Further information about the GNLI can be accessed at http://www.icn.ch/pillarsprograms/global-nursing-leadership-institute/.

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[ Ten students from the Japanese Red Cross Hiroshima College of Nursing visited the Geneva headquarters of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) as part of their Preparatory Course for International Relief. While in Geneva, the students increased their knowledge of disaster nursing and participation in relief efforts, as well as learning more about the activities of ICN in the areas of disaster nursing competencies, international and national collaboration and participation in relief efforts. Dr Sachie Shindo, president of the college, organised the study tour. The delegation from the College also included: Professor Tomoe Watanabe, Associate Professor of Administrative Nursing & Global Health Nursing and General Manager of Local Support in Human Caring Center; Miwa Murata, Administrative Nursing & Global Health Nursing; and Takeshi Niinuma, Assistant Professor. ICN staff members Linda Carrier-Walker, Director, Development and External Relations and Elizabeth Adams, Consultant, Nursing and Health Policy provided formal presentations and facilitated the sharing of information. ]

New ICN Wellness Centres in Ethiopia and Uganda will fortify health workers

Two new ICN Wellness Centres for Health Care Workers® were in preparation this autumn in Kampala, Uganda and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Wellness Centres in Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia have proved to be a cost-effective intervention addressing the severe health worker crisis existing in much of Africa.

Health care workers risk being exposed to illness in the workplace, yet they may experience difficulties in accessing the health services they routinely provide for others. Initiated in 2006 and the first of their kind in sub-Saharan Africa, the Wellness Centres reduce barriers health care workers face in accessing health services, and thereby strengthen health care systems and address health care worker shortages.

The Uganda National Association of Nurses and Midwives (UNANM) and the Ethiopian Nurses Association (ENA) manage the Wellness Centres in their respective countries.

Ethiopia and Uganda have a critical shortage of health workers, and a high prevalence of infectious and non-communicable diseases. Health workers experience fatigue and job burnout because of the high health worker-patient ratio, as well as stress caused by the threat of acquiring blood-borne pathogens including HIV, TB and hepatitis B or C. Health facilities often do not have occupational and health safety policy and procedures in place and lack basic personal protective equipment.

‘Nurses and other health workers were not getting appropriate and supportive care’, stated Asrat Demisse, ENA President. ‘By addressing their health and wellbeing, the Wellness Centre creates a sense of recognition and motivation among health workers, encouraging them to remain in the health system and to continue to provide quality care to the people they serve. We will compile data about the health and wellbeing issues of health workers to serve as input for our country's health human resource policy and strategy’.

The Wellness Centres offer comprehensive services including testing, counselling and treatment for HIV and TB and other illnesses; antenatal services, including Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission; immunizations; stress management; post exposure prophylaxis; and professional development training on evidence based practices and other topics.

‘We plan to play a major role in retaining health workers in Uganda by providing accessible treatment, care and support services’, said Cliff Asher Aliga, RN, MScHM, Director of the Wellness Centre in Uganda. ‘Caring for all health workers goes a long way toward motivating them to serve the population. We will advocate for the government to integrate the wellness centre concept throughout the country’.

In November partners and representatives from each Wellness Centre gathered in Pretoria, South Africa to share experience and enhance skills. Participants at the conference developed strategies to sustain and strengthen their organisations. Hosted by the Democratic Nurses Organization of South Africa (DENOSA), the conference was organized by ICN and the national nurses associations (NNAs) of Denmark, Ethiopia, Ireland, Lesotho, Malawi, Norway, Swaziland, Sweden, Uganda and Zambia.

‘The Wellness Centres look after the health and wellbeing of health workers so they can continue to care for their communities. As such they have become a critically important part of the health care landscape in their countries, vital to individual health workers, their families and the populations they serve’, stated Linda Carrier-Walker, ICN Director of Development and External Relations, who chaired the conference. ‘We must strive to ensure the continued development, sustainability and focus of the Wellness Centres and to build capacity among the organizations and individuals who make up the lifeblood of this initiative’.

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[ Nurse leaders gathered for the inaugural meeting of the ICN Latin American Nurse Workforce Forum. ICN President Rosemary Bryant (sixth from the left) and ICN Chief Executive Officer David Benton (far right) participated. The Ecuador Nursing Association hosted the workforce forum, which took place in Quito, Ecuador. ]

The Wellness Centre in Ethiopia is funded with support from BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO). Overall the initiative is supported by ICN, its member associations in Denmark, Ireland, Norway and Sweden, BD Corporation, LO-TCO Secretariat and the Stephen Lewis Foundation, in collaboration with the Ministries of Health in each country.