Press Release

Minister Lenihan to open a North South Nursing Conference “From Vision to Action”

The Minister for Children, Mr Brian Lenihan, TD, will host a reception this evening, Wednesday 19th March 2003, at 7.30pm, in Dublin Castle to open a North South Nursing Conference entitled “From Vision to Action” – strengthening the nursing contribution to public health’

The reception will also mark the launch of the report “From Vision to Action” by the Chief Nursing Officer Mary McCarthy, Department of Health and Children, and Judith Hill, Department of Health, Social Service and Public Safety, Northern Ireland. The report is the product of an 18-month North South Nursing project that provides a nursing perspective on public health and identifies measures to enable nurses to work more effectively for public health.

The Minister congratulated both Chief Nursing Officers for their timely vision and action in establishing a North South Nursing Group in accordance with the terms of Good Friday Agreement. The group previously published “A Nursing Vision of Public Health – an all Ireland statement on public health and nursing” in February 2001. The Minister said the “conference not alone celebrates the nursing contribution to public health but is also significantly symbolic of the new relations between the governments of the North and South of Ireland”.

The Minister praised nurses and midwives for their professional ´care based´ client relationship. He said nurses and midwives are “uniquely placed to ensure that the health services take on a more people-centred approach” and went on to describe the challenges facing the Irish healthcare services since the publication of the health strategy ´Quality and Fairness´. He said “it is a time of unlimited potential for nurses and midwives, who must be opportunistic”. Increased nursing specialisation and the attendant opportunity for nurses to expand their scope of practice, the implication of nurse prescribing, and the training and wider deployment of health care assistants present a unique challenge for nurses and midwives to re-define their roles and, in the process, to re-define healthcare delivery.

Senior leaders, policymakers, educationalists and practitioners in public health on the island of Ireland will address Thursday´s conference in Dublin Castle, which is expected to attract in excess of 300 nurses and midwives from all parts of Ireland. The main theme of the conference “From Vision to Action” is the movement from strategy development to implementation of contemporary nursing policy.

The aims of the conference are

  • To provide future direction for nurses and midwives, and those who work with them, to achieve public health goals for the population on the island of Ireland.
  • To share and build upon examples of nursing and midwifery initiatives that contribute to the achievement of public health aims on the island of Ireland.
  • To launch the report “From vision to action – strengthening the nursing contribution to public health”