ACN's Board of Directors | Australian College of Nursing

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ACN's Board of Directors

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ACN is governed by a nine member Board. The Board is made up of seven directors elected from, and by, the membership of ACN and two independent directors appointed by the Board.

ACN's President

Professor Christine Duffield FACN 

Christine has over 10 years’ clinical and managerial experience in the health industry in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK and over 25 years in senior management, education and research roles in the university sector. She has worked with policy and administrative decision-makers in most states/territories. Christine is highly regarded by practitioners as a researcher who understands the world in which they work and who can translate results into practice and policy. Christine is the Professor of Nursing and Health Services Management UTS and Edith Cowan University. Christine was elected to the board in 2013 for a two year term and re-elected in 2015 for a further four years until 2019.


Vice President

Carmen Morgan FACN

Carmen has 30 plus years’ experience as a nurse. Much of her clinical career has spanned rural, regional and remote health in Western Australia. For the last 13 years she has taken on progressively more senior nursing leadership roles and is now the Director of Nursing of the Broome Hospital in WA and Regional Nurse Director for the acute care, primary health care, mental health, aged care and public health practice areas. Carmen was elected to the board in 2013 for a two year term and re-elected in 2015 for a further four years until 2019.


ACN Board Members

Belynda Jane Abbott FACN

Belynda Jane Abbott FACN, MHLM, GDipClinEd, CertIVTrngAssmnt, BN is currently a Clinical Nurse Consultant Neurosciences, Princess Alexandra Hospital. Belynda has over 17 years’ experience within the Australian Healthcare system working in the Northern Territory and Queensland.  She has previously been a Nurse Educator in infectious Diseases and Neurosciences. She has contributed to health policy and health service delivery within these roles, and has supported the education and training of health care staff as a part of becoming a large-scale digital hospital.  Belynda has co-authored a textbook, and also held the position of ACN Key Contact for the Brisbane Region, been an Emerging Nurse Leader mentor and a member of the New Generation of Nurses Faculty.


Adjunct Professor Susanne Hawes FACN

Adjunct Associate Professor Susanne Hawes FACN BHlthScN, EMBA is currently Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Top End Health Service, Northern Territory. Susanne has previously worked in consulting for more than five years with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), bringing skills and expertise from other industries such as education, tourism, small business and information technology. She has also worked nationally within the public, private and not for profit sector, supporting businesses through mergers, governance realignments and large-scale transformational change. With over 30 years’ experience working in the health and social welfare sector, Susanne has a comprehensive understanding of the national health reform agenda, which translates to the state and local level. She also holds an adjunct appointment as Associate Professor with the Queensland University of Technology.


David Plunkett FACN

David Plunkett FACN GAICD, MBA, RN is Chief Executive Eastern Health Melbourne Victoria, where he operationalises the strategic plan, quality and financial plan for the current and future financial years of the health service. David has been an Executive for Eastern Health in Melbourne for a number of years where he provided professional leadership to the nurses and midwives within Eastern Health. He has a deep understanding of the need to manage and mitigate risk, scope assess and implement improvements to performance – on any aspect of health service performance.


Professor Linda Shields FACN

Professor Linda Shields currently holds the position of Professor of Rural Health at Charles Sturt University. Linda has sat on a number health care boards and has served on international, national and local committees in various roles, including as chair. She was also Editor-in-Chief of the journal Neonatal, Paediatric and Child Health Nursing. Linda has been Director of the Tropical Health Research Unit, a joint initiative of Townsville Hospital and Health Service and James Cook University from 2012-2015, and Director of Research for the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the University of Hull (UK) from 2006-2008. She has also held two joint appointments between health services and universities, where she focused on support, mentorship and education for academics and health professionals.


Leanne Smith MACN

Since completing her Enrolled Nurses course at Gunnedah District Hospital in 1984 Leanne has worked in several rural hospitals, private and public metropolitan hospital and community services, with extensive experience in clinical practice ranging from: emergency nursing, medical, surgical, oncology, currently mental health. She has a solid commitment to representing Enrolled Nurses in future strategic planning. Leanne believes that the advantage of having a variety of nursing levels is that they compliment the work of each and deliver excellence in nursing practice.


ACN's Independent Directors

Chris Drummer GAICD, Independent Director

Chris is a qualified lawyer with an MBA and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has broad commercial experience having worked in Executive capacities for a diverse range of organisations including top 100 ASX listed entities AMP, Lend Lease and NAB, unlisted corporates and significant experience with NFP’s and industry associations. Chris has over 10 years’ experience working in the health sector as a General Manager with the major Health Fund Bupa and with Australia’s largest Radiology Network, I-MED and as  CEO of the Australian Rheumatology Association. Chris was re-appointed to the Board in 2017 for a four year term.

Chris was re-appointed to the Board in 2017 for a four year term


Ross M Lewin, Independent Director
B.Com CA F.FIN 

Ross M Lewin B.Com CA F.FIN is a Chartered Accountant who has over 35 years of experience in investment banking and corporate advice. He is the Founder/Managing Director of independent investment firm, Brenowen Cross Capital. Ross gained his experience in large financial services organisations (ABN Amro, ANZ Bank), as well as boutique advisory and specialist restructuring firms. In his current and previous roles, Ross has provided insightful strategic recommendations and conducted mandates in capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, divestment, shareholder and bank negotiations. 


ACN Committees are comprised as follows:

Finance, Audit, Risk and Investment Committee
Brian Gatfield (Chair)
Carmen Morgan
Christine Duffield
Chris Drummer

Governance Committee
Christine Smith (Chair)
Kathy Baker
Leanne Smith

Company Secretary
Neil Haynes


Australian College of Nursing Constitution

The Australian College of Nursing was established to cultivate and maintain the highest principles of nursing and healthcare by:

(a) facilitating the education and continuing professional development of nurses and other healthcare professionals;

(b) providing opportunity for and administering grants, trusts and awards to further nursing and health professional scholarship;

(c) contributing to a professional framework which enhances the practice and progression of nursing and healthcare nationally and internationally;

(d) initiating, encouraging and supporting research to seek solutions to issues and problems relevant to nursing and healthcare practice and the health of the community in general and taking action on such problems and issues;

 (e) fostering and maintaining links with other nursing and allied organisations or relevant groups through co-operation or affiliation for the furtherance of any or all of the objects of the College;

(f) acting in an advisory role and providing a consultative service on the process and outcomes of nursing and health policy development and research at National and State levels in order to improve the health care of the community.

Download the ACN Constitution


Australian College of Nursing Governance Charter

This Board Governance Charter was first formally endorsed by the Australian College of Nursing Ltd (ACN) Board at its meeting of September 2013. It applies to all activities of the ACN Board and staff until such time as it is amended or repealed by the ACN Board properly constituted.

Australian College of Nursing Limited (ACN) is an Australian Public Company Limited by Guarantee. ACN is also registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC). This Board Governance Charter governs the operations of ACN, under Clause 20.1 and Clause 25 of the Constitution which gives the Board of Directors (known hereafter as “the Board”) the power to determine policies and procedures for the Organisation’s governance.

The Board is responsible for ensuring that ACN has an appropriate corporate governance structure to provide the creation and protection of member value. This Board Charter explains ACN’s commitment to the principles and practices of good governance. It is not an all-inclusive document and should be read as an expression of principle. The Board will review and update this Charter on an annual basis.

Requests for a copy of the ACN Governance Charter must be made in writing to the Company Secretary on email: acn@acn.edu.au