NEW YORK NURSE: June 2011
by Deborah Elliott
More than 2,500 nurses from around the world assembled in the capital city of Valetta in Malta during Nurses Week to exchange ideas and discuss issues impacting their professional practice.
Historic and picturesque Valetta, with a population of approximately 400,000, is 93 kilometers (about 58 miles) south of Sicily in the Mediterranean. With a vast and rich history dating back to 5000 B.C., Valetta’s noble architecture captures your attention and curiosity. Settled by the ancient Greeks in 700 B.C., then inhabitated by Phoenician traders, Malta was governed for years by the Roman Empire. In the 16th century, Malta was gifted to an Order of Knights from Jerusalem and many of the buildings and structures that remain today were built by them. Malta was under French rule for a brief period during the days of Napoleon, but then became part of the British Empire in the 1800s until its independence in 1964. With its narrow, winding streets and friendly merchants, Valetta was the ideal location for the 2011 International Council of Nurses Conference.
The theme for this year’s conference was Nurses Driving Access, Quality and Health and the keynote address was delivered by Diana Mason, professor of nursing at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing in New York City. Mason spoke eloquently about the expectations of a changed healthcare delivery system and the “proactive and dynamic leadership” required by our profession in order to preserve and ensure the care and well-being of patients.
Other American speakers included renowned nurse researcher Linda Aiken, who spoke about the sustainability challenges faced by the healthcare workforce and the need to create positive working environments; ANA President Karen Daley, who participated in a panel discussion about the nuances and challenges of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment; Linda Burnes Bolton, of Cedars-Sinai Health System and Research Institute in Los Angeles, who spoke about shaping the future of nursing education; Anna Gilmore Hall, executive director of Practice Greenhealth, who served on a panel discussion about climate change and environmental issues; Donna Dorsey, a nursing consultant specializing in regulatory and policy development, who participated in a panel discussion about disaster response; and Barbara Nichols, CEO of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools, who spoke about nurse migration and globalization.
Various other topics of interest included telenursing, health social movement, task-shifting and non-communicable disease. The highlight for most, however, was an inspiring and moving presentation by Jeannette Kagame, the First Lady of Rwanda, who spoke with passion and confidence about the evolving role of women in Rwanda and the tremendous progress her country has made in ensuring women are active participants in government and social and economic development.