Media Releases

Head of world’s largest nurses’ organisation to address conference

1 September 2016

The chief executive of the world's largest health professional organisation, the International Council of Nurses (ICN), will speak at the New Zealand Nurses' Organisation (NZNO) conference this week. (Wednesday, September 7.)

New Zealand nurse Frances Hughes, who took up the top job at the ICN in February this year, is the keynote speaker at the one-day conference at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. A former New Zealand and Queensland chief nurse, Hughes trained at Lower Hutt Hospital in the late 1970s and worked as a mental health nurse before moving into health leadership.
The conference theme is Nurses A force for change: Influencing the health of our communities.

Hughes will emphasise nurses' role in transforming health care and their crucial role within the health system. She will also discuss the recently updated New Zealand Health Strategy.

The other keynote speaker at the conference, which is expected to attract upwards of 200 delegates, is another international nursing leader, the president of the 200,000-strong Canadian Federation of Nurses' Unions Linda Silas. She will stress that the battle for quality patient care must be led by nurses' unions through safe staffing models. Silas believes that nurses' power to speak up when patients are in danger or their own health is under threat must be unleashed.

Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre and health spokesperson for the Child Poverty Action Group Nikki Turner will be a guest speaker at the conference. Turner is an associate professor in the Department of General Practice and Primary Care at the University of Auckland and works part-time as a GP. Counties Manukau District Health Board's chief nurse adviser for primary and integrated care, Karyn Sangster, will also speak at the conference.

NZNO president Grant Brookes and kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku will give the opening conference address.

NZNO's chief executive, Memo Musa, said NZNO was delighted Hughes had agreed to speak at the conference. "We are very fortunate the leader of 16 million nurses around the world will be addressing the conference. All the conference speakers are health professionals who are forces for change and who influence the health of their communities – from local to global communities" he said.

The conference would focus on nurses' and nursing's contribution to health, Musa said. "Nurses, as the largest health workforce in the world, are pivotal to improving the health of communities locally and around the world. They must be properly resourced to do so."

Conference presentations from nurses include one on men's health and another on nurses' recovery after a natural disaster.

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