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ICN’s new chief touts versatility of the profession

Nothing is beyond a nurse’s reach.

These were the words of Queensland's chief nursing and midwifery officer Dr Frances Hughes, who was recently named chief executive of the International Council of Nurses (ICN), when discussing nurses becoming involved in different areas of the profession.

Hughes said ICN was the first and widest-reaching international organisation for health professionals in the world, going back to 1899.

“On multiple levels [the appointment is] exciting, it's very humbling for me, but it also says that anybody can get involved at any level in nursing, and nothing's beyond anyone's reach.

“It's important that we're engaged at all levels with our local organisations and our local communities, and also in the international arena, so we can influence the big issues that are challenging healthcare,” she said.

Hughes also said her appointment was great for nurses from the Southern Hemisphere.

“Those of us who have worked and lived in the South Pacific, in Australia, New Zealand, have a very different viewpoint on the world," she explained. “We often look to the Northern Hemisphere, and to our Europeans, and to our North American colleagues, in awe, so for me, personally, it's wonderful to think I can now carry out what I've done for the last 30 years on a bigger stage.”

Here, Hughes discusses the capacity of nurses to be a stronger voice in the healthcare industry and ICN’s future direction in global issues and professional practice.

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