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International Council of Nurses. Our nurses. Our future. 2023a. (accessed 24 May 2023)

International Council of Nurses. One year on – ICN renews call for peace in Ukraine as nurses around the world stand in solidarity. 2023b. (accessed 21 May 2023)

New study suggests risk of extreme pandemics like COVID-19 could increase threefold in coming decades. 2022. (accessed 24 May 2023)

UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Sexual and reproductive health. Providing quality sexual and reproductive health services to refugees and other persons forced to flee. 2023. (accessed 24 May 2022)

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Futureproofing: the nurse as advocate in a world of change

08 June 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 11

This year's International Nurses Day featured a new Charter for Change, released by the International Council of Nurses (ICN). The Charter emphasises the need to ‘urgently address and improve support for nurses' health and well-being by ensuring safe and healthy working conditions and respecting their rights’. It also states that, ‘nurses are key to healthier communities, responsive societies, thriving economies and powerful nations’ (ICN, 2023a).

Nurses are also advocates. As readers know, the current nursing strikes in the UK were never just about pay stagnation, but also to highlight the lack of structural government support for over a decade, leading to nurses' deep concerns over patient safety.

Similar industrial action has been mirrored across the globe, and, for many, it was COVID-19 that lit the fuse. It exposed the vulnerability of nursing, weaknesses in staffing and safety, and threats to the physical and mental health of nurses.

ICN also promotes the interests of nurses working in war-torn Ukraine. Here, the majority of nurses continue to provide care, in spite of personal risk (ICN, 2023b). According to a chief nurse at Kharkiv Oblast Hospital, ‘I haven't fled because I love my colleagues and care about our patients’ (World Health Organization, 2023).

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