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ACN is a leading professional and educational organisation for nurses

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ACN will be a force to be reckoned with, known for our strengths in advocacy, respected for our influence and our political savviness, appreciated for our responsiveness to members and to broader industry issues, and found at the fore in the health and aged care debate."

- Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN
CEO, Australian College of Nursing

The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is a membership organisation for nurses and student nurses, an educational institution for qualified nurses and an advocate for the nursing profession


The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is advancing nurse leadership to enhance health and aged care

The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is a professional nursing membership-organisation, open to nurses in all settings and at every stage of their career. In addition to being the Australian member of the International Council of Nurses, we are also an authorised higher education provider and registered training organisation and we specialise in online postgraduate, professional development and training courses for registered and enrolled nurses.

Australia’s health care system faces a number of complex challenges in providing high quality, innovative and cost effective care, including aged care. Nurses have a broad knowledge of the political, societal and economic forces that shape health care, as well as the needs of the people in the community who access the health care or aged care systems.

“The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is the preeminent and national leader of the nursing profession”. ACN’s intent is to enhance health care by advancing nurse leadership. It does this by developing and nurturing the leadership skills and expertise of nurses. Through its membership and education services, and leadership development program, ACN encourages and supports nurses at every level to develop their leadership skills and competency in order to make a strong contribution to policy by providing their professional, economic and health perspectives.

All nurses can be leaders, regardless of their job title or position. Leadership is a mindset and a set of actions, commitments and beliefs that produce results. Nurse leaders and nurses with leadership skills are needed at every level of the health and aged care systems, to inform and shape the strategic direction and drive the necessary changes.

ACN recognises the importance of nurse leadership and the need to develop a nurse’s leadership skills. Our aim is to enhance the leadership skills and expertise of nurses throughout their career, to enable them to contribute to the policy, practice and delivery of health services and aged care.

Our intent is to “advance nurse leadership to enhance health care”. There are four key ways that we do this:

1. ACN advocates on behalf of the nursing profession

As a professional nursing organisation, we advocate at state and federal levels with Ministers and Health Departments and provide valuable insight and recommendations from a nursing perspective.

2. The expertise of ACN’s members helps to shape health care and aged care policies

We provide a collective voice for the nursing profession by utilising our members' experience and knowledge to provide input into health and aged care debate and policy. We provide opportunities for our members to shape our position statements about important aspects of nursing, aged care and health care delivery to all Australians.

3. ACN is a leading member organisation for aspiring and existing nurse leaders

As a nursing member organisation, we provide networking opportunities for our members so they can develop their professional potential and leadership skills and raise their profile. We are an information hub for our members and offer them a number of convenient and valuable tools including career development, leadership skills development, networking and library services.

4. ACN is an accredited higher education provider for qualified nurses

As an educational organisation, our postgraduate, continuing professional development (CPD) and training courses are renowned for equipping nurses with further knowledge of their chosen specialty and extending their clinical skills. We specialise in nurse leadership education, courses and workshops. ACN also develops bespoke customised education courses to meet organisational training needs.

ACN nurtures the nurse leaders of today and tomorrow

Ongoing increases in the cost of health care, the increasing burden of disease, the future demand for aged care services and the challenges to the health workforce will make the economic sustainability of health and aged care the focus of health policy debate. Health is becoming as much an economic as a social policy area for governments and by representing the views of our members, and the broader nursing profession, ACN plays an important role in health care debate at a state and federal level.

We are committed to encouraging, educating and supporting nurses, so they can develop and grow their skills, confidently take a leadership role in health care or aged care and provide the essential professional, economic and clinical perspectives that shape care models.

ACN is “Nursing Leadership in Action”

The development and delivery of future health and aged care models for the Australian community will be enhanced by utilising the professional expertise of nurse leaders and considering their experience and views.

Our members include today’s and tomorrow’s nurse leaders. As well as providing a forum for our members’ voices, ACN engages our members by actively providing them with opportunities to participate in health care debate and reform, and shape future policy.

In addition to our regular curriculum of postgraduate, professional development and training courses, we offer a specialised personal development program focused on nurse leadership skills. We believe that nurse leadership starts with us, and as the “go-to” organisation for Government and organisations involved in the health care sector we are focused on:

  • Leadership through strong policy positions
    ACN's members actively engage in comment and contribute to key policy debates, analysis, development and reform to improve health care delivery and aged care services.
  • Leadership through quality education
    We provide a range of educational programs leading to a formal award including graduate certificates, specialty and general units of study and Certificate IV qualifications.
  • Leadership through professional development
    ACN offers continuing professional development workshops and short courses that meet the specific needs of nurses in a wide variety of specialties. Our members can apply for ACN grants and awards to fund their research or pursuit of knowledge.
  • Leadership through tailored solutions and endorsement
    We develop and deliver customised education courses and programs for health care and aged care organisations and other groups. We also offer quality endorsement services for education and training content that meets our criteria and standards.
  • Leadership through extensive resources
    ACN develops and deliver workshops, events and the National Nursing Forum, which attract leading international experts as presenters. ACN members receive access to national and international research data and library resources.
  • Leadership through influential networks
    We create networking opportunities among the nursing, aged care and health community, including regional and special interest communities.
  • Leadership through expert mentoring
    We nurture the leaders of tomorrow through our ENL and Leadership @ACN programs.
  • Leadership through information
    Our members are kept up-to-date via our publications, refereed journal and other valuable member-based communications.

ACN provides nurses with eight key services 

  1. Membership
    As a professional nursing member organisation, ACN provides a range of helpful services to our members. Membership is open to registered and enrolled nurses as well as student nurses. Membership with ACN opens the door to meeting and engaging with other nurses who share your interest in a specialty (through our Communities of Interest). Members can also participate in social and professional networking activities which are organised on a regular basis in each region.
  2. Policy
    By drawing on the vast skills and expertise of our members, ACN delivers a nursing perspective to health care policy, aged care policy and key stakeholder programs.
  3. Advocacy and Representation
    ACN advocates for health care reform which takes the nursing profession's experience and knowledge into consideration. Our members have the opportunity to represent ACN at professional and government forums and provide expert advice and subject matter knowledge.
  4. Leadership Development
    ACN has educational programs, courses, activities and events that support, enhance and improve the capabilities of current and future nurse leaders. These include both non-award and award programs, as well as opportunities to network with luminary nurse leaders.
  5. Education 
    ACN is an accredited Higher Education Provider and a Registered Training Organisation. We offer a range of formal qualifications for both registered and enrolled nurses, including postgraduate certificates in specialty areas, as well as continuing professional development (CPD) programs, short courses and webinars.
  6. Information & Resource Hub 
    ACN makes available a range of publications both in hard copy and electronically to its members and the broader profession. Our members have access to evidence-based information resources, extensive databases and other nursing references. ACN has an extensive nursing library with online access. This is available to our members and student nurses.
  7. Events 
    ACN conducts a range of functions and events focused on nursing practice, professional aspects and clinical education. Our signature event is the National Nursing Forum, held annually in October, which is open to all nurses.
  8. International Council of Nurses (ICN) member
    ICN is a federation of more than 130 national nursing associations, representing more than 16 million nurses worldwide. Since 2012, ACN has been the Australian member of the ICN, creating an important link between Australian Nurses and the global nursing community. As Australia’s member of ICN, ACN represents Australian nurses in the development and reform of international nursing policy, and promotes the nursing profession across the globe. In doing this we also work in collaboration with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.

Year in Review Financial Statement

ACN’s office locations

We operate from two locations. The registered office is located in Deakin, Canberra and is the site of ACN’s member relations, communications, policy and advocacy, events and scholarships divisions.

Our Sydney office at Parramatta is the site of ACN’s education, finance, marketing and corporate divisions and the Katie Zepps nursing library.