International Council of Nurses

Member profile

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of national nurses associations in more than 130 countries. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality nursing care for all and sound health policies globally. Founded in 1899, ICN is the world’s first and widest reaching international organization for health professionals and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Main activities

ICN has identified three key program areas as crucial to the betterment of nursing and health. These are known as ICN's Pillars and they are: Professional Practice, Regulation, and Socio-economic welfare. The association's activities are focused in these areas. The International Classification for Nursing Practice (ICNP®) – a common code language for data globally -- and Leadership for Change ™ are two significant ICN projects which come under the professional practice pillar. Leadership in Negotiation is a project which comes under the socio-economic welfare pillar.

Links to the health workforce crisis

ICN's ever-increasing networks and connections to people reinforce the importance of strong linkages with national, regional and international nursing and non-nursing organizations. Building positive relationships internationally helps position ICN, nurses and nursing for now and the future. ICN is a valuable source of information. It is known for its guidelines, best practices, publications, benchmarking tools, conferences, online education and reference guides.

ICN's International Centre for Human Resources in Nursing is dedicated to strengthening the nursing workforce globally through the development, ongoing monitoring and dissemination of comprehensive information, standards and tools on nursing human resources policy, management, research and practice.

Positive Practice Environments:

Positive Practice Environments for Health Care: Quality Workplaces for Quality Care, is spearheaded by the health professions (International Council of Nurses, International Pharmaceutical Federation, World Confederation for Physical Therapy, World Dental Federation and World Medical Association), together with the International Hospital Federation. The multiyear, multi-stakeholder campaign promotes safe, cost-effective and healthy workplaces, thereby strengthening health systems and improving patient safety.