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Mr. Howard Catton


As ICN CEO Howard Catton advocates for nurses to be at the heart of health policy making and leading healthcare systems and delivery.

Languages : English


Howard was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) in February 2019. He is committed to ensure that ICN effectively represents nursing worldwide, advances the nursing profession, promotes the wellbeing of nurses and advocates for health in all policies. Throughout his career Howard has worked and written extensively on issues relating to the Nursing and Healthcare Workforce and he co-chaired the first ever State of the World’s Nursing Report. He has led ICN’s work to respond to and support nurses globally during the pandemic and has been at the forefront of advocating for the protection of and investment in the nursing profession. Howard joined ICN in April 2016 as the Director, Nursing, Policy and Programmes. His team led the development of ICN policy and position statements. He also co-ordinated ICN Programmes and projects and oversaw the development of scientific programmes for ICN events.Howard qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1988 and held a variety of nursing posts in England and the United States and worked for the New Zealand Nurses Organisation. He studied Social Policy at Cardiff University (BSc Econ Hons) and Industrial Relations at Warwick University (MA) and then worked as a Personnel and Organisational Change Manager in the National Health Service in the UK. For 10 years Howard was Head of Policy & International Affairs at the Royal College of Nursing in the UK.


International Council of Nurses announces appointment of new nursing consultant on socio-economic issues

January 14, 2016

"I am delighted to be joining ICN at a time of both significant challenge and opportunity for the nursing profession around the world,” said Howard Catton. “By improving the working lives of nurses we also enhance the safety and quality of care for patients. By increasing the engagement and influence of clinical staff and leaders in policy and political decision making we will also make the right decisions for the populations and communities that we serve"...

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Revalidating nurses:what's the score?
Nursing In Practice

July 03, 2014

Dr Kolyva also concedes that appraisals as part of the revalidation process might not be conducted by nurses but that GPs and other professionals could play a role. However, she says that in such circumstances nurse registrants would be needed to provide a second “confirmation”. Howard Catton, head of policy and international affairs at the Royal College of Nursing, says that the results of an RCN survey confirmed that nurses had “strong views” that they want their appraisals to be carried out by another registered nurse.Mr Catton warns that appraisals should not get “mixed up with fitness to practice”...

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NHS hospitals still failing to protect patient mealtimes
Nursing Times

April 17, 2009

RCN head of policy Howard Catton urged trusts to make protected mealtimes a priority...

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Planning nurse staffing: are we willing and able?
Journal of Research in Nursing

2011Academic research and public enquiries demonstrate the link between adequate staffing levels and patients’ experiences and outcomes. Health care providers have a legal duty to ensure (and demonstrate to care regulators) that staffing levels are safe. Yet evidence of effective workforce planning, locally or nationally, is scarce. A plethora of tools exist to help employers to determine nurse staffing required. Although not perfect, the technical resource is none the less available to support planning, but are we willing to use it? In England the different systems have not been reviewed or tested and there is no consensus about the best approach to use. This paper asserts that decisions about current and future configurations of the nursing workforce are currently taken in a data vacuum. Fundamental aspects of nurse deployment – the proportion of registered nurses, the ratio of patients to nurse – are not systematically captured or recorded, either nationally or locally. We argue that a first step in planning is to establish this baseline. We need data on nursing inputs to relate to the growing body of data on patient outcomes, to enable managers and policy makers to understand the efficacy of current workforce configurations and inform future plans.

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Area of Expertise

Health Policy

Industrial Relations

National Policy Advising

Social Policy

Workforce Research


International Council of Nurses


Medical/Dental Practice

Health Care - Providers

Health Care - Facilities

Health Care - Services

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