On 27 May 2017, around 200 students from 36 countries gathered in Barcelona for the ICN Nursing Student Assembly of the International Council of Nurses 2017 Congress hosted by ICN and the Consejo General de Enfermería.
This assembly was moderated by the President of the Spanish Nursing Student Association, Mr. Eneko Armendáriz, and included six presentations from six students representing different parts of the world: Korea, Thailand, Canada, the US, El Salvador and, representing the European Region, the President of the European Nursing Student Association (ENSA), Mr. Julián Vadell Martínez.
The ENSA presentation focused on “Innovation and challenges in nursing: European perspective”. It included information on the EU directive 2013/55, the new competency framework for nursing studies and the importance of the international mobility programmes to form better nurses for a world in constant change.
Following these informative Country presentations, the students discussed the topics which ENSA President, Julián Vadell Martínez, would be presenting to the ICN Council of National Nursing Association Representatives (CNR) (which includes the ICN Board of Directors and all representatives of ICN’s members around the world). The students worked together to create three axes which were the structure of the speech to CNR: nursing education, mobility programmes and new technologies.
Concerning Nursing Education, the students called for investment and improvements in education to support the preparation of students to be the best nurses that they could be.
They argued it should be integrated into tertiary education (i.e. University). The students expressed their interest in focusing on care promotion and the humanization of caring, as this is not always evident in all countries. They explained their need for simulations before their first internships and, hence, asked for an increase of the amount of money spent on nursing education. They demanded a change in health politics, because education must be seen as an investment, not an expense. Finally, they concluded that the social view of nurses must be improved; by empowering the image, the profession will be seen as more attractive
On the topic of mobility programmes, the students noted that travelling and working abroad has an intrinsic importance to better prepare nurses for a world in constant change. As nursing students see different views and perspectives, they will understand that there is not only one type of caring. However, they recognised that this incurs significant costs, so called for improved bursaries and funding support for students plus systems and processes that mutually recognize education and learning and help to reduce the bureaucracy many students currently encounter.
Finally, concerning new technologies, the students noted that, for centuries, nursing care has evolved with society. Nowadays, this evolution must include “include the use of new information and communication technologies and tools to improve care.
The students concluded by thanking the ICN Board and CNR for all they have done for the profession, and by saying that, as the future of nursing, they are resolved to be ready, one day, to take their own seats at CNR, helping their colleagues to make a better profession.
The CNR applauded the students’ views and statements, and asked the students’ help to develop the axes they had presented. The expressed their gratitude for the presentation and hard work and gave a standing ovation to the ENSA President, who finished his speech by saying: “I want to thank your applauses on behalf of all the nursing students who were reunited at the Students Assembly. This is a shared ovation with all our colleagues for the tremendous job they’ve done. But now it’s time to work together and to think in the future of this wonderful profession being one solid voice. Because it is united that we can go further”.
You can find the photos of this event on the ENSA Facebook page (European Nursing Student Association – ENSA) and Instagram (@ensa.board)
Message from ICN to NNAs: Please share this report with your Student Associations and invite your student leaders to contact email@example.com if they are interested in taking this work forward and being involved in the preparations for the next Student assembly in Singapore in 2019.
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