Statement by Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al Hussein – All Ireland CNOs’ Conference

I am very pleased to be here today at this inaugural All Ireland Chief Nursing Officers’ Conference. I would like to thank the CNOs, Dr Siobhan O’Halloran and Ms Charlotte McArdle, for inviting me to address the delegates. I met Dr O’Halloran at the World Health Organisation in Geneva earlier this year. When she told me about the conference, it caught my interest immediately, not only because it celebrates the nursing and midwifery workforce but also because it shows what can be achieved through cross-border partnership and collaboration.

Nursing is the backbone of any health service. The extent to which patients rely on nurses, in providing treatment, giving comfort, alleviating suffering and bringing hope, is constant throughout the world. Therefore, it is vital that the nursing workforce is supported and encouraged in its endeavours to continue to provide the highest standards of care to patients.

This inaugural Conference shows what can be achieved with the right kind of collaborative, forward-thinking leadership. I believe that leadership should not be imposed on nursing nor should it be an abstract concept relevant only to senior staff. The most potent and inspirational leadership comes from within nursing and from nurses at every level of their careers, ranging from the most senior nurses to student nurses in training. Each individual nurse and midwife can be a leader and it is important to emphasise this message to encourage emerging leaders.

A conference such as today’s has the potential to be a powerful vehicle to facilitate improvements for nursing, cross-border working and, most importantly, for patients. We should never forget that patients are the ultimate beneficiaries of any advances for the nursing workforce.

I want to conclude by congratulating the Chief Nursing Officers and their respective staff for organising this conference and to offer my best wishes to everyone involved in today’s event.