The International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists is a federation of national nurse anesthetists’ associations.
Article II: Philosophy
The IFNA is an international organization of nationally registered nurses with special education in nurse anesthesia. The members of this professional organization are dedicated to the precept that its members are committed to the advancement of educational standards and practices, which will advance the art and science of anesthesiology and thereby support and enhance quality patient care.
For IFNA, a nurse anesthetist is a person who has completed a program of basic nursing education and basic nurse anesthesia education and is qualified and authorized in his/her country to practice nurse anesthesia.
Nurse Anesthetist is a general title for nurses working in anesthesia with a specific education. The title could be: Nurse Specialized (or Specialist) in Anesthesia or Anesthetic Nurse.
The purpose of IFNA is to promote assistance in the development of strong national nurse anesthesia associations.
Before IFNA existed, many countries had the feeling or the belief that the nurse anesthesia specialty was specific to their country. The international cooperation through IFNA activities has strengthened the authority and the self -confidence of national associations in nurse anesthesia interests. Some associations have increased the number of their members, some country members have unified the profession at national level. IFNA is encouraging the nurse anesthetists to create associations where it doesn’t yet exist, like is the case in many African , Asian and Central American countries.
There is no individual membership into the IFNA, only National Association of Nurse Anesthetists ( it can be a branch of a wider organization), the most representative can apply for membership. Non Nurses anesthesia providers associations can also apply for Associate membership, but with limited rights.
Some objectives were defined in the IFNA bylaws in 1989. What has been realized within 30 years ?
1. To promote cooperation between nurse anesthetists internationally.
The presence of so many nurse anesthetists from different nations and continents meeting together for sharing continuing education and professional experiences in Vienna, after the successful world congresses in Lucerne, Amsterdam, Oslo, Paris, Vienna, Chicago, Helsinki, Lausanne, the Hague, Ljubljana, Glasgow and Budapest is the most beautiful proof of the international cooperation. The IFNA organization itself promotes the international collaboration of delegates and/or experts from different countries as :
The Council of National Representatives composed of one delegate from each country member
The Board of Officers in charge of IFNA business and every action in coordination with the Executive Director and the Executive Committee.
The Congress Planning Committee in charge of the organization of world Congresses in collaboration with the host country
The Education Committee composed of nurse anesthesia teachers and program directors of different countries in charge of development and improvement of recommendations concerning education and the organization of the teachers session during the congress, and more recently reviewing applications to Approval Process for Anesthesia Programs.
The Practice Committee composed of Nurse Anesthetists from different countries with expertise in research, teaching and practice in charge of development and improvement of recommendations concerning the practice, the continuing education, and the organization of the dedicated session at the World Congress.
Within IFNA, some associations from developed countries have brought assistance to less developed country members by sending books, revues and equipment to nurse anesthesia schools.
2. To develop and promote educational standards in the field of nurse anesthesia.
IFNA has developed recommendations for preparing nurse anesthetists on June 1990 These standards have been revised and updated regularly by the Education Committee. The same committee has prepared nurse anesthesia program curricula for Certificate, Bachelor and Master levels.
3. To develop and promote standards of practice in the field of nurse anesthesia.
IFNA has prepared standards of practice for nurse anesthetists on June 1991 and regularly revised and updated since .
The Standards of Practice, Educational standards, Code of Ethics (developed on year 1992) and added Monitoring standards have been already used many times in order to help associations and /or authorities to develop or improve nurse anesthesia education and practice.
They have been revised, updated and adapted to the CanMed concept in 2016.
4. To provide opportunities for continuing education in anesthesia.
A World Congress for Nurse Anesthetists is organized every 4 year to provide opportunities for continuing education. IFNA wants to maintain a high scientific quality for these congresses and has for this reason developed policies for next congresses.
5. To assist nurse anesthetists’ associations to improve the standards of nurse anesthesia and the competence of nurse anesthetists.
Some countries are already in process to improve and change their educational program in order to adapt them to the IFNA international model. Every time an association was requesting the assistance of IFNA for providing support for improvement of nurse anesthesia, the President, the Executive Director and /or other delegates were participating to discussions, to present nurse anesthesia programs or practice in other countries. The development of nurse anesthesia program curriculum provides valuable documentation. The Education Committee can also assist in development of programs of education.
6. To promote the recognition of nurse anesthesia
IFNA has developed close contacts with different international organizations. We have been recognized as Affiliate Member by the International Council of Nurses (ICN). The specificity of nurse anesthesia as a nursing specialty is so recognized by the nursing profession.We are also the voice for non-physician anesthesia providers into the WHO GIEESC, into the G4 Alliance for Surgery, Obstetrics, Trauma and Anesthesia care. The international study about nurse anesthesia conducted by Dr. Maura McAuliffe, official IFNA researcher, has already shown that nurses are participating to over 80% of all the anesthesia all around the world. Most of the time there is a special education for these nurses with official programs or on site training, but this means also that there is a need to develop nurse anesthesia education where it doesn’t yet exist. More recent data collected in Africa have shown that there are more non-Physician anesthesia providers including of course in better cases nurse anesthetists, than anesthesiologists.
7. To establish and maintain effective cooperation between nurse anesthetists, anesthesiologists and other members of the medical profession, the nursing profession, hospitals and agencies representing a community of interest in nurse anesthesia.
We have established contacts with the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiology (WFSA) and we are planning to meet together to understand the collaboration we could have in order to offer better anesthesia services to the population all around the world. We are also encouraging the national association of nurse anesthetists to create or maintain close links with associations of nurses and the basic nursing profession.
At international level the collaboration with ICN and WHO is already effective, as well at European level with the European Specialists Nursing Organization and the participation to the European forum for nursing and in North America by participating to the discussions for NAFTA nursing issues.We are also active members of the G4 Alliance for Surgery, Obstetrics, trauma and anesthesia care, in charge of implementing the WHO resolution for improving surgical, obstetrics and anesthesia services worldwide.
IFNA has established a Foundation for Nurse Anesthesia Research and Education where we are expecting to get grants and founds for developing nurse anesthesia educational projects.
Today we can consider that IFNA already fulfills its functions as defined on the bylaws.