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International Council of Nurses (ICN),
the oldest international health organization. It is a federation of nurses' associations from 112 countries and was one of the first health organizations to develop strict policies of nondiscrimination on the basis of nationality, race, creed, color, politics, sex, or social status. The objectives of the ICN include promotion of national associations of nurses, improvement of standards of nursing and competence of nurses, improvement of the status of nurses within their countries, and provision of an authoritative international voice for nurses. The following ICN definition of the nurse is accepted internationally and serves as a pattern in developing nursing practice and nursing education throughout the world: "A nurse is a person who has completed a program of basic education and is qualified and authorized in her/his country to practice nursing. Basic nursing education is a formally recognized program of study that provides a broad and sound foundation for the practice of nursing, and for postbasic education, which develops specific competency. At the first level, the educational program prepares the nurse, through study of behavior, life, and nursing sciences and clinical experience, for effective practice and direction of nursing care and for the leadership role. The first level nurse is responsible for planning, providing, and evaluating nursing care in all settings for the promotion of health, prevention of illness, care of the sick, and rehabilitation; and functions as a member of the health team. In countries with more than one level of nursing personnel, the second level program prepares the nurse, through study of nursing theory and clinical practice, to give nursing care in cooperation with and under the supervision of a first level nurse." The ICN is active in the World Health Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and other international organizations.
Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier.