US Nurse Leader Pamela Cipriano Elected ICN President


Dr. Pamela Cipriano, internationally recognized nurse leader and Dean of the University of Virginia School of Nursing, was recently elected President of the International Council of Nursing (ICN).  Before this, she was the First Vice President of the organization and President of the American Nurses Association.

Cipriano – a recognized nurse leader

Cipriano started her nursing career with a Diploma in Nursing and advanced in her career – obtaining a BSN, Master’s, and Ph.D. in Nursing – to become the organization’s leader representing nurses globally.

Cipriano was elected as the 29th President of the ICN during its virtual Council of Nursing Association Representatives last October. She will assume her new role on November 1, after being the First Vice-President of the ICN from 2017-2021. 

“I have no doubt that she will be an outstanding leader of the International Council of Nurses,” said Jim Ryan, President of UVA, about Cipriano’s election. “ This is a fitting honor for Pam, who is a nationally recognized leader and has made innumerable contributions to the field throughout her career.”

Cipriano was the President of the American Nurses Association for two terms from 2014-2018. Furthermore, she had been the first editor of the official journal of the ANA, American Nurse, from 2006-2014. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the American Nurses Credentialing Centre and The American Academy of Nursing.

Cipriano was appointed as Dean of the UVA School of Nursing and the Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor of Nursing in 2019.  She has a strong clinical background, having been the chief clinical/ nursing officer at UVA Health for nine years.  The health system earned its initial “Magnet” designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center while under her leadership.


Modern Healthcare magazine named Cipriano among the “Top 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” in the US for four years in a row from 2015-2018 and included her in their list of “Top 25 Women in Healthcare.”

Cipriano’s goals

As an international nurse leader Cipriano sees it as her mission to raise the voice of nurses, empowering them, and increasing nursing’s influence in determining healthcare policy.

The safety and well-being of nurses are also important to her. She is active in addressing issues related to staffing, burnout, and workplace violence. Currently, she is involved in several initiatives to support nurses during the COVID pandemic. For example, the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience focuses on the mental health effects of the pandemic on the healthcare workforce.

On being elected as President, Cipriano explained that her vision for the ICN was to increase nurses’ influence globally. “We must be the voice that broadcasts the impact of nurses penetrating the barriers of universal health coverage (UHC), reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases, promoting healthy behaviors, and mitigating the detrimental effects of climate change,” she said. However, in light of the COVID pandemic, she added, “Our immediate future requires that we first address the impacts of the international workforce and economic disruptions, ensuring the stability of ICN and assisting our members to do the same.”

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Frieda Paton is a registered nurse with a Master’s degree in nursing education. Her passion for nursing education, nursing issues and advocacy for the profession were ignited while she worked as an education officer, and later editor, at a national nurses’ association. This passion, together with interest in health and wellness education since her student days, stayed with her throughout her further career as a nurse educator and occupational health nurse. Having reached retirement age, she continues to contribute to the profession as a full-time freelance writer. In the news and feature articles she writes for Nurseslabs, she hopes to inspire nursing students and nurses on the job to reflect on the trends and issues that affect their profession and communities - and play their part in advocacy wherever they find themselves.
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