International Perspectives

Nurse leaders graduate from ICN-Burdett Global Leadership Institute

Thirty senior nurse leaders from 27 countries from across all world regions graduated from the 2012 ICN-Burdett Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI). The International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the Burdett Trust for Nursing sponsor the institute, which takes place each September in Geneva, Switzerland.


Graduates of the 2012 Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI) concluded their intensive week with a special graduation ceremony. They were joined by ambassadors of many of their countries and representatives of GNLI sponsors, the Burdett Trust for Nursing and Pfizer Inc. Audrey Gittens-Gilkes, Chief Nursing Officer of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, delivered a valedictory address. Shown are: seated row (left to right): Paula deCola (Pfizer Inc.), Sheila Tlou (UNAIDS), Jack Gibbs (Burdett Trust for Nursing), David C. Benton (ICN), Ambassador Yui (Taiwan), Stephanie Ferguson (ICN). Row behind (left to right):Asma Binkalban (UAE), Zainooriah Zakaria (Malaysia), Martin McNamara (Ireland), Ellen Ku (Hong Kong), Hong Zhao (China), Shirley May Hibbert (Jamaica), Amina Abdulkadir Ali (Tanzania), Barbara Astle (Canada), Leticia Puguon (Philippines), James Muriungi Mwenda (Kenya), Motshedisi Sabone (Botswana), Mangala Shrestha (Nepal), Fhumulani Mavis Mulaudzi (South Africa), Altanbagana Surenkhorloo (Mongolia), Raymond Phillips (USA), María Concepción Chavez de Peralta (Paraguay), Helen Pocknall (New Zealand), Elsia Sinon (Seychelles), Cherlyn Bain (Bahamas), Marjorie Parks (Belize), Michael Larui (Solomon Islands), Virginia Adams (USA), Nyangi Philemon Ngomu (South Africa), Audrey Gittens-Gilkes (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), Nanthaphan Chinlumprasert (Thailand), Maryam Amirfathian (Iran), Margaret Olusolape Jemilugba (Nigeria), Claire Zablit (Lebanon), Persephone Annis Munnings (Bahamas) and Marie Bernadette Baxter (Australia). Photo credit: Sonia Fernandez.

Focused on the theme Increasing Access and Equity through Leadership – taking action on NCDs and the MDGs, the 2012 GNLI employed an action-learning approach. During six days of intensive study and reflection, the participants acquired new knowledge and skills to help accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and attainment of other national priorities. Participants observed and analysed strategic leadership in action; enhanced their knowledge of health care globally; sharpened strategic skills; and engaged in peer learning and development.

The graduates are now better equipped to improve population and global health due to their enhanced understanding of the economic and societal impact of non-communicable diseases worldwide, as well as their exposure to tools that will assist them in leading innovations in care delivery.

‘It will be impossible to return to our various countries and take no action. We are now obligated to combine forces not only among ourselves but to seek allies who are willing to join forces with nurses to eliminate disparities in health’, said GNLI graduate Audrey Gittens-Gilkes, Chief Nursing Officer of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. ‘Our challenge is to penetrate the world, one community and one country at a time until there is equity, accessibility and availability in health resources’.

Composed of five men and 25 women from countries with developed and developing economies, the 2012 GNLI class included chief nursing officers; presidents and officers of national nursing organisations; directors of nursing, deans and professors; and representatives from regulatory bodies and specialty service areas. Financial support from the Burdett Trust for Nursing, Pfizer Inc., the founding sponsor, the Taiwanese Department of Health and the Taiwan Nurses Association allowed ICN to increase the number of bursaries to support 16 participants.

‘Burdett Trust for Nursing is proud to support the International Council of Nurses and the Global Nursing Leadership Institute. Funding from Burdett Trust has ensured that nurses from low-income countries could take part in this important programme through bursaries’, stated Alan Gibbs, Chairman of the Burdett Trust for Nursing. ‘We believe that the diversity of participants is essential to the programme's success as it contributes a greater understanding of global health care issues and a richer learning environment’.

Established in 2009, the GNLI offers an advanced leadership programme for nurses and/or midwives at senior level and executive positions in developed and developing countries across the world. Drawing on the expertise of international faculty, the programme allows participants to review and enhance their national and global leadership knowledge and skills within a collaborative and stimulating learning culture.

Dr Stephanie Ferguson facilitates the GNLI. She is an Associate Professor and Director of the Community Nursing Organization at the Virginia Commonwealth University, USA and Director of the ICN Leadership for Change™ programme.

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 in September 2013, will be open on 1st December 2012 and the closing date is 15 February 2013. Further information about the GNLI can be accessed at

The Burdett Trust for Nursing is an independent charitable Trust set up in 2002 in recognition of the foundation, philosophy and structure of the Royal National Pension Fund for Nurses (RNPFN) and named after its founder Sir Henry Burdett, KCB. The Trust makes charitable grants to support initiatives that are nurse-led and that empower nurses to make significant improvements to patient care.

Nurses' role is critical to achieving MDGs by 2015 deadline

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has announced the theme for International Nurses Day (IND) on 12 May 2013: Closing the Gap: MDGs 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Nurses, as the principal providers of primary health care in most nations, have a critical role to play in assisting their countries to progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

In 2000, the leaders of 189 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. This pledge became the eight MDGs, which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education. The MDGs have a series of time-bound targets with a deadline of 2015.

The eight MDGs are:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development.

ICN intends the IND 2013 theme to be a countdown to the year 2015, with a special emphasis on the three goals related to health (MDGs 4, 5 and 6).

ICN proclaimed Florence Nightingale's May 12 birthday as International Nurses Day (IND) in 1965. It is an excellent occasion for nurses and their associations to inform and remind the public and policy makers about the role they play in promoting the health of communities and nations. To support nurses in doing so, ICN disseminates a poster and a policy tool kit to its member associations worldwide.

The 2013 IND tool kit, which will be posted on the ICN website (, can be downloaded for use by individual nurses, associations, health ministries, non-governmental organisations, health institutions, industry and media. ICN encourages nurses to use the kit for individual action and group activities throughout the year.

New Nurse Consultant will join ICN to work on SEW issues

A highly respected nurse leader from Canada will join the staff of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) early in 2013. Lesley M. Bell will serve as an ICN Nurse Consultant, focusing primarily on socio-economic issues (SEW). She will assume the position formerly held by Elizabeth Adams RN, MSc who is now Director of Professional Development at the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation in Dublin, Ireland.

Since 1993, Bell has held the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Nurse Association (ONA). In this role, she has provided organisational leadership and direction to advance the ONA vision and mission. The ONA is a union representing 59 000 registered nurses and allied health professionals and more than 13 000 nursing students.

‘It is with great pleasure that we welcome Lesley to the staff of ICN’, stated David Benton, ICN Chief Executive Officer. ‘As CEO of the ONA, she has a wide range of experience in lobbying for fair and equitable compensation, quality workplaces and safe staffing. Her executive leadership abilities and active participation in the national nursing union will be key to helping ICN advance our socio-economic agenda’.

‘I am thrilled to take on this opportunity to work with nurses and nursing associations globally in addressing SEW issues in their workplaces’, Bell said. ‘I look forward to the challenges ahead, of dealing with the current trend to decrease health care costs and the negative impact that has on the work life of nurses. In addition I hope to transfer negotiating skills that I have developed over my career with the Ontario Nurses' Association to help attain the remuneration and respect that all nurses deserve’.


Lesley M. Bell, a highly respected nurse leader from Canada, will join the International Council of Nurses (ICN) as a Nurse Consultant, focusing primarily on socio-economic issues (SEW).

Bell served as Assistant Director (1991–1993) and Associate Director (1993) of Government Relations for the ONA. In this position she provided strategic advice and support to the Legislative Committee and sought provincial legislation lobbying opportunities for the advancement of the ONA membership. She also was responsible for research and education regarding the Regulated Health Professions Act.

In 1990 Bell was ONA President and responsible for implementing ONA policies and working towards the association's objectives. Her nursing experience includes a 1977–1989 term as a staff nurse with Ottawa's Salvation Army Grace General.

In 2006 she received the Bread and Roses Award from the Canadian Federation of Nurse Unions in recognition of her outstanding contribution to nursing unionism on a provincial and national level. Bell was a speaker at several ICN Congresses on the topics of negotiation and bargaining, racism, workplace violence and the value of nursing.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Cum Laude) at the University of Ottawa, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario. In 2011, she attended and assisted a leadership conference with SANNAM (South African Network of Nurses and Midwives) in an initiative to support nursing leadership development in southern Africa.