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Nurse leader’s new role to influence global policy

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Published on 15 March 2020

Dr John Unsworth
Dr John Unsworth

University academic Dr John Unsworth has been selected to be part of an elite group of global nursing leaders to attend the prestigious International Council of Nurses (ICN) programme.

As an ICN Global Nursing Leadership Institute scholar, Dr Unsworth will join the programme at the end of March, which includes a residential component in Geneva, Switzerland, and is designed for nurses who are in a position to influence policy at a national and international level.

Dr Unsworth, the University’s Head of Learning and Teaching Enhancement, will be mentored by senior nursing leaders as well share his insights about shaping nursing and health policy alongside leaders from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other global bodies.

Now in its 11th year, the Global Nursing Leadership Institute is designed to equip the world’s top nurses with the skills they need to influence healthcare policy making at the very highest level so that they can improve the health of the populations they serve and help to determine the future state of the nursing profession.

As a trained nurse and academic, Dr Unsworth has considerable experience of developing health care and education internationally having undertaken work in Grenada (West Indies), Thailand for both the Ministry of Health and Education, Hungary, China and in Ghana. He is also currently chair of community nursing charity, the Queen’s Nursing Institute, which provides opportunities for him to work with national and international leaders on community nursing and public health policy.

Speaking about the ICN programme, Dr Unsworth said: “The Global Nursing Leadership Institute has a proven track record of developing policy leaders across the world.

“The programme brings together senior nurses from every continent to learn together about how to influence policy in their own country and beyond. I am delighted to have been made a 2020 GNLI Scholar in this the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.”

Sir David Bell KCB, Vice-Chancellor of our University, said: “We are delighted that Dr John Unsworth is to be part of the ICN programme.

“Not only is this great recognition personally for all the work that John does, it is also a great honour for the University of Sunderland.

“Through the ICN, this gives John an opportunity to influence global policy on nursing. It is a major responsibility but one that he is more than qualified to exercise.”

Dr Unsworth was invited to help officially launch the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020 at the House of Lords in January.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, in honour of the bicentenary of the birth of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

Dr John Unsworth, attended the launch to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives, as well as highlight the challenges of shortages within the profession.

The University of Sunderland regionally is rising to the challenge through innovative new provision across a range of fields including nursing apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship programme, developed in partnership with NHS trusts across the North East, aims to help the NHS save millions of pounds by tackling nursing staff shortages in the region.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide.  Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality nursing care for all and sound health policies globally.

 The Global Nursing Leadership Institute is generously supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, enabling nurse leaders from low-income countries to attend the programme through bursaries.


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