Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI)™ 2020

Helping top nursing leaders to bring about policy changes

that lead to health improvement


Senior nurse leaders everywhere need high-level professional, political and policy leadership skills to operate effectively in tough policy arenas. Policy and politics determine the health of populations, and the state of the nursing profession - present and future.

You should know how to make a distinctive contribution to shaping, influencing and implementing policy decisions, wherever you work - in government, management, education, advanced practice, research or development, or for a professional association, trade union or nongovernmental organisation.

The innovative and acclaimed GNLI focuses on strengthening your political and policy understanding and influence. It is framed by nursing opportunities in a global movement committed to sustainable development and explores key themes that underpin the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

GNLI is evaluated every year by scholars, faculty and donors. The results are outstandingly positive. GNLI alumnae have:

  • Better understanding of how to influence policy
  • Improved ability to identify, understand and work with stakeholders within and beyond the nursing profession
  • Greater awareness of the competencies needed to negotiate with policy stakeholders
  • Enhanced ability to review and frame the evidence base within local, national and international political, health and social care contexts
  • Stronger competence in creating clear policy messages that appeal to politicians, policy-makers and the public


GNLI fellows use these skills in many important activities to improve health outcomes. These include leading and contributing to national action plans for nursing and midwifery, and other major policies; reforming nursing education; leading clinical developments; conducting research to underpin policy; and ensuring nursing voices are heard alongside other stakeholders. They are also in the forefront of the Nursing Now campaign.

Expected programme outcomes

The six-month GNLI 2020 programme will help you to become more effective in bringing about policy changes that lead to health improvement and high quality of care while safeguarding staff safety, well-being and socioeconomic interests. By completing the three modules, you will be able to:

  • Shape, develop, support and drive evidence-based health and social policy
  • Undertake stakeholder analyses and political environmental analyses in order to influence definition of problems, building of coalitions and framing of solutions
  • Use political, strategic and advocacy skills to work effectively with policy stakeholders, including politicians and government officials, other health system leaders, and international and nongovernmental organizations
  • Review and frame the evidence base in local, national and international political, health and social care contexts
  • Create and communicate clear policy messages that appeal to politicians, policy-makers and the public
  • Participate in a network of global nurse leaders in policy


These expected outcomes are based on an ICN framework that defines 20 domains in which nurse leaders need to be competent for effective policy leadership. You will be asked to assess your competencies in these domains at the beginning of the programme. They are: vision and being strategic; external awareness; customer focus; political skills; policy skills; motivation; confidence and trust; influence and negotiation; creative and analytical thinking; accountability; interpersonal relationships; team-building; networks, partnerships, alliances; oral communication; written communication; self-direction; decisiveness; problem-solving; managing change; and preparing future leaders.

Learning tools and methods

GNLI encourages you to focus on your personal and professional development as a necessary foundation to becoming a more effective leader. You will set your own programme goals during Module 1, using templates and support documents; review and develop your competencies during  Module 2; and create an individual development plan to work on during Module 3 and beyond. You will be asked to identify a real-life project on which you will work throughout.

This is a blended learning programme through which you engage with experts and colleagues using stimulating and supportive action-learning methods. It is not an academic lecture series, although it introduces concepts and theories where appropriate, and is rooted in evidence as well as experience.

You will be given access throughout to an on-line platform that offers communication, collaboration and coaching, and enables participants, faculty and ICN administrators to share content, submit assignments and exchange information and ideas.  You will join this for the entire programme, and receive guidance on how to use it at the beginning.

Programme content

The 2020 programme comprises three modules, as follows:

Module 1: Induction,  15 June  – 17 September

The aims of this module are to orient you to GNLI, enable you to get the most out of the programme, meet your GNLI facilitators and each other virtually before we meet in person in Geneva, and become familiar with key concepts and information. You will be required to complete 10 assignments, some to be submitted by specific deadlines. These include preparatory reading, reviewing health and nursing data in your country, and identifying a project relevant to your work that you will continue to develop throughout the programme.

Module 2: Residential workshop, 18-25 September

This residential workshop takes place at the Chateau de Bossey, near Geneva. It includes discussions of the policy process and its political context; strategies for evidence-based policy change in a global context; the role of nurses in leading global health and social policy; and effective communication skills for leaders including use of social media. In-depth exploration of the work of ICN and the World Health Organization occurs throughout the week, including site visits and conversations with their leaders. You will reflect on strategies for policy change in your own country, and discuss regional opportunities for collaboration on policy change and nursing leadership.

Module 3: Implementation, 26 September – 30 November

Module 3 is the capstone of the programme. You will receive orientation to Module 3 and discussion of your development needs during the residential workshop. The module includes assignments on continuing work with in-country mentors, creating and implementing your individual development plan, and undertaking work-related projects in partnership with other participants that support the Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020.

Education credits

International Continuing Nursing Education Credits (ICNECS) are granted.

Programme faculty

The programme will again be led professionally by two top nurse leaders, Jane Salvage, GNLI Programme Director, and Diana J. Mason, GNLI Deputy Programme Director. Their leadership of GNLI has been very highly evaluated by previous participants. Jane Salvage, from the United Kingdom, is a nursing and health policy activist, leader, trainer and author. Though her work with WHO, ICN and others she has run leadership programmes and workshops in many countries. Diana J. Mason, from the United States, is a leader in nursing and healthcare, journalist, scholar, educator, and past president of the American Academy of Nursing. Both were also award-winning editors of their countries' leading nursing journals, Nursing Times and the American Journal of Nursing.

They will be joined in Module 2 by other distinguished speakers from ICN and WHO.

Who can apply

Leading nurses and midwives who work in:

  • government and civil service  (e.g. government chief nurse)
  • national nursing regulatory bodies (e.g. registrar)
  • international, national or large regional health organisations, including health service providers and nongovernmental organizations (e.g. chief executive, director of nursing, senior head of departments and programmes)
  • senior nurse practitioners (e.g. leading advanced practice development)
  • professional nursing associations (e.g. president, vice-president, chief executive), board member)
  • trade unions with significant nursing membership (e.g. president, vice-president, chief executive, head of nursing department)
  • education, research and development (e.g. dean, senior professor, director of research department or large programme)


Thirty top nurses from round the world will be selected for GNLI 2020 through a competitive process. Successful applicants from high- and middle-income countries will be expected to find their own source of funding to attend. Some bursaries are available for those from low-income countries.


Founded in 1899, ICN is the world’s first and widest-reaching international organisation for health professionals. It is a federation of more than 130 national nurses’ associations, representing the over 20 million nurses worldwide. Its mission is to represent nursing worldwide, advance the profession, promote the wellbeing of nurses and advocate for health in all policies. ICN has long been a pioneer in leadership, management and negotiation skill development for nurses.

The Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI)™ builds on ICN’s impressive legacy of working with senior nurses from around the world to increase their leadership understanding and expertise. Generously supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing (United Kingdom) and other partners, it has taken place annually from 2009 to the present - last year was our 10th birthday!