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Exploring human Dignity and the common good: A deeper look into the ICN

Referring to the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, inalienable and equal rights along with inherent dignity have been recognized as basic to all humans. With humans being kept at the centre the idea of common good begins by what it means to be human. It recognizes the aspect of human relationships as a social being not designed to be isolated. The common good has been described as the shared life within a society where everyone receives the chance to flourish (Sachs, 2017, pg 2575). The common good aims at recognizing the reality within the lives of the people and thereby upholds individual human space where they can access their agency. It focuses towards balancing the interests of the individuals without disregarding the interests of anyone. It is also about recognizing pluralism in terms of interests and identities (Sachs, 2017. Pg 2580).

The core purpose of SDG is to advance human dignity which complements them and coheres them. Appreciating these simple attributes ensures that the concept of dignity is explored. ICN or the International Council of Nurses along with its 136 members of NNAs or National Nursing Associations acts as the representative body calling over the civil societies, governments, and health care providers to sustain and develop a health care system which is accessible, affordable and safe. ICN considers access to healthcare as a fundamental human right independent of the exercise of other human rights. “Every human being is entitled to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health conducive to living a life in dignity” (, 2023, Pg 5).

SDG 4.7 and Nursing Education: Bridging the Gap between quality education, human dignity and common good.

Under Sustainable Development Goals (2023) 'Quality Education' is considered to ensure equitable and inclusive education to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Target 4.7 ensures that education is attained for sustainable development and global citizenship. It is targeted to ensure by the year 2030 that skills and knowledge are acquired by learners to be able to promote sustainable development through education as well as sustainable lifestyle, gender equality and promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence. Appreciation of global citizenship along with cultural diversity and the contribution of culture through sustainable development comes under its concern (Schultz, 2020, pg13).

One of the initiatives outlined in GDSNM's actions and priorities involves "Strengthening nursing and midwifery education". This aims at improving the quality of nursing education as well as its relevance. Along with that, the aim has been to promote lifelong learning along with continuous development on the professional ground for the midwives and nurses and thereby also ensure that these programs are based on the competencies. The changes in educational fronts have been aligned with the priorities of national health. Another area of concern which motivates the investment in nursing education is the fact that globally there is about 30 million shortage of nurses. Such a shortage of nurses and caregivers in the healthcare sector hints at a disruption in sustainable life (Schultz, 2020, pg12).


Figure: Members of the International Council of Nurses

Source: (, 2021)

Investment in the nursing sector turns out to be a crucial aspect regarding global health policy as nurses constitute a major segment of the global health workforce. However, even though considerable contributions are made to the healthcare sector, the nurses continue to experience inadequate compensation and a shortage of resources for the knowledge they have and the services they provide. Such evokes a concern on the humanitarian ground and also disrupts the quality of service in the long run (, 2023). ICN (2023) is promoting that with adequate investment being made in nursing it can contribute a large number of benefits which would also include improved access to health care, reduced costs of health care and better outcomes for the patients connecting them to overall sustainable goals by SDG. Despite of the benefits of nursing education investment, it is only seen as a cost burden rather than value for money.

Understanding ICN’s commitment to promoting human dignity and commitment to the common good: A global perspective on nursing education.

WHO recognises healthcare as a fundamental human right and the profession of nurses plays a pivotal role in ensuring that everyone comes with access towards quality healthcare services irrespective of socio-economic status, culture, religion, geographic location and gender. Despite the progress made in recent years access to healthcare continues to remain an area of challenge. As per its commitment to SDG, ICN (2023) has considered investing in 'high-quality accredited nursing education programmes so as to prepare new nurses while providing advanced career development programs for the nurses existing. The aim has been made to design curricula in a way to ensure that the nurses graduate with adequate skills, confidence and competencies to respond to evolving needs in the health communities and also support progression in their careers (Pope Francis, 2015).

About 80,000 eligible nurses had been denied the chance to admission in both postgraduate and undergraduate programs in 2018 USA. By the principle of human dignity and common goods, the aim has been made to consider options so as to increase the admission of nurses across diverse ethnic, socio-economic and geographical populations. It has also been aimed to make nursing education accessible to all the students who have graduated from high school and also attain the lowest standard regardless of geographical, ethnic or socioeconomic backgrounds (Osingada, & Porta, 2020, pg 802).

ICN also aims at ensuring that the nursing workforce represents the community that it serves and thereby also focuses on developing policies to ensure that admission comes from diverse populations. As a part of this policy, grants and scholarships are being provided to students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds in remote and rural areas thereby collaborating with the organizations that are based in the community and also contributing to diversifying the workforce of nurses (, 2023).


Figure Description: It has been reflected that bringing about a 10% increase in the proportion of nurses has brought about a 7% decrease in the mortality rates

Source: (, 2023)

Across the globe, there have been a number of cases of faculty shortage which include factors like ageing faculty, migration, poor salaries, lack of funding and devaluation by academic institutions with a reduction in the full-time staff. Academic attainment is insufficient for nurses. Combined strategies to cater to this had been to consider the preparation, retention, development and recruitment of the nurses. By investing in the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare development ICN is confident that the future generation of nurses would have the necessary competencies so that they can respond to the evolving and dynamic health needs of the communities across the world.

References (2023). International Nurses Day 2023 report.

Osingada, & Porta, C. M. (2020). Nursing and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a COVID-19 world: The state of the science and a call for nursing to lead. Public Health Nursing (Boston, Mass.), 37(5), 799–805.

Pope Francis. (2015). Laudato Si’’: On Care for Our Common Home [Encyclical].

Sachs. (2017). The Sustainable Development Goals and Laudato si': varieties of Post-development? Third World Quarterly, 38(12), 2573–2587.

Schultz. (2020). Closing the Gap and the Sustainable Development Goals: listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 44(1), 11–13.

United Nations, The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2023.

Image References (2023). International Nurses Day 2023 report. ., (2021). ICN-International Council of Nurses.

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