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About the program

The Nurse Executive Leadership Program will develop those in, or those aspiring to, nurse executive roles with the capabilities required to meet the future social, political and economic challenges in health and aged care. The program is structured to meet the requirements of ACN’s Nurse Executive Capability Framework supporting nursing executives nationally to continue in the health and aged care industry as they navigate the current health care landscape and strengthen their knowledge and influence in their existing and future roles.

For more information, including program objectives, outcomes and selection criteria please refer to the program flyer.

Program modules

  • Nursing leadership
  • Nurses as strategic leaders
  • Operational management
  • Health economics and financial management
  • Marketing and communication
  • Clinical governance
  • Human resource management
  • Nursing in a technological and digital health era

Program objectives

On successful completion of this program participants will be able to:

  • balance expectations related to operational management and executive leadership
  • influence, monitor, guide at a strategic level, network, partner, and be across the latest evidence to make decisions
  • lead the strategy and facilitate implementation
  • build capacity in the next leadership level and throughout the organisation.

Express your interest

All places for the inaugural Nurse Executive Leadership Program commencing on 21 June 2021 have been allocated.

You can register your interest to be notified as soon as the next program intake is announced.

2021 Program speakers

We are proud to provide participants of the inaugural Nurse Executive Leadership Program with access to global and national thought leaders during a five-day face-to-face masterclass commencing on 21 June 2021.




» About me

Professor Christine Duffield FACN is an internationally acclaimed nursing workforce researcher and Australia’s leading voice on the impact of nursing workload and skill mix on patient outcomes and the quality of patient care. Christine joined the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Board in 2013 and is currently the President of ACN.

Christine is the Professor of Nursing and Health Services Management at Edith Cowan University and the University of Technology Sydney. Christine is a highly accomplished international researcher with significant experience in the health and education industries in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Christine is one of the top 10 most-cited Australian and New Zealand nursing and midwifery professors.

Christine focused on transforming the nursing sector over the course of her 40-year career. During this time, she has worked extensively with state and federal decision-makers as well as internationally, with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN), to drive change and innovation in health care delivery. As a result, she is highly regarded by practitioners as a researcher who understands the world in which they work and can translate results into practice and policy.

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ACN CEO, RN, M.Mgt, Dip.App.Sci (Nursing), Acute Care Cert., FACN, FCHSM, Wharton Fellow, MAICD

Policy Reformer. Humanitarian. Visionary. Nurse. For-Purpose Leader. Equality Warrior. Adjunct Professor. Executive Coach. Mum. Transformation Specialist.

Kylie Ward was born and bred in the outer western suburbs of Sydney. Life was simple but Kylie wasn’t. She was a dreamer. What she didn’t know then, was that she was destined to become one of the most influential health professional leaders of her country and a formidable, passionate advocate for health, women and equality.

Kylie currently serves as the CEO of Australian College of Nursing (ACN). She has led a program of transformation at ACN, turning around membership numbers to increase revenue and tripling student numbers – all within five years.

She has done this by leading the ACN community to find their relevance through policy leadership, political and industry influence. ACN is now Australia’s beacon for Nurse Leadership.

Kylie holds honorary academic appointments with five leading Australian Universities and was ministerially appointed as a Director to ADHA (Australian Digital Health Agency) and NHMRC Health Translation Advisory Committee (HTAC) whilst holding numerous other board positions. In 2020 Kylie was named as one of the Top 100 Health Voices for LinkedIn worldwide and in 2021 was recognised as a National Influencer by AuSAE, the leading body for Association Executives.

Kylie has served on Senate and Parliamentary Inquiries and gave evidence at the Aged Care Royal Commission of 2019.

In 2017, Kylie won Telstra Businesswoman of the Year in ACT for Purpose and Social Enterprise.

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» About me

RN, RM, LLB (Hons), PhD (UNSW)

Professor Chiarella’s career spans 40 years both in the United Kingdom and Australia. Mary is Professor Emerita, Susan Wakil School of Nursing at the University of Sydney. In 2003/04 she was the Chief Nursing Officer, NSW Health Department and prior to that was the Foundation Professor of Nursing in Corrections Health, with the University of Technology, Sydney.

Mary has provided her professional expertise to health services, organisations and governments over the years. She is a Board member of Northern Sydney LHD and chairs their Health Care Quality Committee. She also serves on the Clinical Ethics Advisory Panel to the NSW Minister for Health and the Clinical Governance Advisory Committee to healthdirect Australia.

Mary’s particular research interests focus on legal, policy and ethical issues in nursing, midwifery and health care delivery. She publishes and speaks nationally and internationally on her work. She has recently completed an ARC funded study of a comparative analysis of health professional complaints processes between the new Australian national regulation scheme and the NSW scheme and has just completed a study with a grant from the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing exploring insight and continuing competence in clinical practice performance.

She was awarded an AM for significant contributions to nursing and midwifery education and healthcare standards in June 2019 and was awarded the title of Professor Emerita by the University of Sydney on 1 May 2020.

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Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Metro North Hospital and Health Service

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Adjunct Professor Alanna Geary FACN is the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Metro North Hospital and Health Service (MNHHS), Australia’s largest hospital and health service, Board Member of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Foundation and Deputy Chair of the RBWH Alumni.

Alanna has been the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, MNHHS for six years, during four of these years she held the role of Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer and Director of Nursing RBWH. Alanna has worked at the RBWH/MNHHS for the past 36 years.

Alanna has professional oversight for approximately up to 10,000 nurses and midwives across the health service. Alanna has worked in healthcare as a nurse and midwife for nearly 40 years with the greatest proportion of that in senior nursing and midwifery roles at the RBWH. Alanna completed her General Nursing Training in 1984, Midwifery in 1988, Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Southern Queensland in 1994 and obtained a Masters of Health Science from Griffith University in 2001. Alanna is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing and holds Adjunct Professor titles from University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Alanna has extensive healthcare leadership and management experience and is passionate about the unique role of nurses and midwives in the delivery of healthcare. She has held many senior nursing roles having been a Nurse Manager, Nurse Unit Manager, Nursing Director, Director of Nursing and now the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer. Additionally she is committed to ensuring that as well as being the largest Hospital and Health Service in the country, that nurses and midwives in MNHHS, of which RBWH nurses and midwives comprise the largest number, are at the forefront of all clinical and healthcare decision making. To this end as a Board member of the RBWH Foundation she is committed to ensuring that the face of the Foundation and the RBWH is ever present in Queensland and at the leading edge of healthcare, to improve clinical outcomes for patients who utilise health services.

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» About me

Mark Kearin FACN is a nurse professional with over 25 years’ experience in senior nursing and heath executive roles in major health services in NSW and QLD. Mark prides himself on his analytical, data mining, financial, workforce and project management skills which have enabled informed decision making for improved patient outcomes and effective service delivery model implementation.

Mark’s exceptional skills in workforce modelling, skills mix analysis and understanding of the industrial framework underpinning acute, aged care and primary and community health settings has advanced him as a sought after expert in the workplace, as well as lecturing in the tertiary sector. Mark has an innate understanding of using data to support decision making, financial management of health care with a focus on case-mix and activity based funding models.

Mark’s contribution to the nursing profession in Australia extends to his appointment as a Non-Executive Director on the Nurses and Midwives Health Insurance Board and a Council Member of the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.

Mark has been a trailblazer in his areas of expertise throughout his career. He was the first Nursing Unit Manager in NSW to trial unit based budgeting and the first nurse within the heath service to have a dual role of a Nursing Director and Business Manager within a clinical stream across a number of facilities, paving the way for nurses in NSW to be respected as dual professionals.

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Adjunct Professor 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.

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Former General Manager, Sydney Pain Management Centre

» About me

B Health Sc. (Nursing), MBA, FACN, FAAPM

Robyn Quinn FACN was General Manager of Sydney Pain Management Centre, and has extensive experience working with management quality frameworks and education of Performance Indicators within the Health Area and has held senior positions both in public and private healthcare organisations.

Robyn is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Health Science and a Master of Business Administration.

Robyn was an Education consultant with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, presenting their workshops on Quality Management and Performance Indicators leading to Accreditation for eight years.

Robyn is Chair of the NSW/Sydney Region and Vice Chair of the Chronic Disease Policy Chapter for ACN. She has been President of the Australasian Association for Quality in Healthcare for six years.

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Leanne Boyd


Executive Director Learning and Teaching / Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Eastern Health

» About me

Professor Leanne Boyd MACN joined the Eastern Health Executive as Executive Director Learning and Teaching / Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer (CNMO) in November 2019. Prior to this appointment she was Group Executive Director of Clinical Education, Research and Nursing at Cabrini. She has a clinical background in critical care and over 30 years’ experience in health professional education. Previously, she worked at Monash University as Director of Academic Programs (Middle East) and Head of Department Community Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice.

Leanne holds post graduate qualifications in Education and Critical Care from Monash University and a Masters in Tertiary Education Management from Melbourne University. Her PhD investigated health program evaluation models. She is about to complete a Masters in Business Administration and supervises six PhD students. Current priorities include university recognition of industry based learning and teaching and innovative models of care that are centred around the patient/carer and their community with a focus on safety and high quality care.

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» About me

RN, Perioperative Certificate, Grad Dip Acute Care Nursing, MACN, MBA, GAICD

Fiona Brew MACN has undertaken many roles in the Victorian health system during a career that spans 35 years. Her clinical background is in perioperative nursing, and she has held senior health executive roles holding both clinical and corporate portfolios over the last 15 years. Fiona has been in a number of interim CEO roles in regional and rural health services, and was most recently appointed to the CEO role at Colac Area Health in June 2019.

Fiona is a values-based leader and an expert in reforming culture in health services. More recently she served as a member of an independent panel reviewing Workplace Culture within ACT Public Health Services.

Fiona is passionate about nursing and works with many nursing leaders in coaching and mentoring. Investing in the next generation of nursing leaders in recognising positive nursing culture leads to improved patient outcomes and patient experience remains a priority for Fiona.

With a long-standing passion for governance, service improvement and hospital performance, she applies her knowledge through service redesign, models of care and health informatics to achieve improvements. She is a passionate advocate of education for health professionals and workforce innovation to meet the changing needs of the health environment.

With a background in regional health, she is an advocate for strong partnerships and collaboration in meeting the health needs of all clients.

Fiona holds an Adjunct Research Fellowship in the School of Nursing and Healthcare Professionals at Federation University.

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» About me

Adjunct Professor (Practice) Alison McMillan MACN was appointed the Commonwealth Government Department of Health’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer in November 2019.

A registered nurse, Alison holds a Bachelor Degree in Education, a Master of Business Administration and in 2009 received a National Emergency Medal in recognition of service following the Victorian Bushfires.

As the Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Alison delivers high-level policy advice to the Minister for Health, the Executive and staff within the Department of Health and represents the Department at national and international levels.

Alison’s experience spans more than 30 years across the Victorian and English public health systems. She is an experienced manager having held senior executive roles in government and health services including as Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer in Victoria where she made a major contribution to the work to improve the recognition of, and response to, clinical deterioration as the Chair of the Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care’s Steering Committee on the deteriorating patient for five years.

Alison’s commitment and contributions to advancing community health outcomes include her activities abroad as Deputy Team Leader, Australian Foreign Medical Team in Banda Aceh, Indonesia in 2005 following the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Nurse and Midwifery Team Leader for the Australian Medical Assistance Team deployment to Vanuatu following cyclone Pam in 2015 and advisor to the Ministry for Health Fiji on behalf of the Australian Government following Cyclone Winston in 2016.

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» About me

RN, MHlthSciEd (hons), Dip Coaching, NLP Practitioner, PCC, MACN

Deb is the Founder and Principal of Person Centred Leadership providing consultancy services, facilitation, coaching, mentoring and supervision in the health and not for profit sectors since 2012. She has been nursing for more than 30 years specialising in community health, sexual health, population health, health promotion, custodial health, practice development and leadership and leadership development. Areas of interest include women’s health, women in leadership and wellbeing at work. She is passionate about leadership and leadership development in health because she believes it is essential for thriving positive workplace cultures and wellbeing of staff and patients. Nurses are in every context across health and as a result influence at all levels in healthcare. Deb believes that nurses, nursing and nursing leadership underpins the health and effectiveness of our health care system and the people who work within it.

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» About me

Angela Ryan MACN is the Australian Digital Health Agency’s Chief Clinical Information Officer and General Manager, Workforce & Education.

Angela is a clinical leadership and health informatics professional with 30 years’ experience in hospitals and public sector organisations and more than two decades’ experience as a paediatric and adult intensive care nurse.

Angela is a Fellow and former President of the Australasian College of Health Informatics, and now founding Board member of the newly established Australasian Institute of Digital Health. In 2017 Angela was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study methods to prevent patient harm through national digital health safety governance and completed travel to the UK, USA and Canada as part of the Churchill Fellowship research at the end of 2018. The report has been published and is available online at the Churchill Fellowship website.

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Glenys Beauchamp PSM

Principal Advisor, Proximity

» About me

Glenys Beauchamp has had more than 35 years’ experience in the public service – more than 20 years in the Australian Public Service and about 13 years in the ACT Public Service.  She was Secretary in the Australian Public Service for nearly 10 years, leading three departments with a variety of functions. She established and led the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport following the 2010 Federal election and later headed up the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Department of Health.

She has had a wide range of experience at senior levels in the Australian Public Service across social and economic policy areas and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. With this experience she has developed a diverse skill set covering for example: policy; regulatory; program management; high level stakeholder engagement skills, including working with many ministers and other parliamentarians and strong organisational stewardship and governance skills.

Throughout her career she has developed key networks with business and industry groups, non-government organisations, health practitioners and health industry groups, many peak organisations and state and territory CEOs and senior officers across several portfolio areas. Partnering with key stakeholders to jointly solve problems is an area of strength.

Glenys has a degree in Economics from the ANU and a Master of Business Administration from UC. She is a Board Member of the McGrath Foundation Ltd, Chair of Advisory Board of Region Group Pty Ltd, Board Member for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, Chair of the Australian Building Codes Board and on the Board of Industry, Innovation and Science Australia.  She is also an adviser with Proximity Advisory Pty Ltd and Dragoman Pty Ltd.

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Nightingale Challenge

The Nursing Now Nightingale Challenge aims for thousands of young nurses and midwives, aged 35 or under, to benefit from leadership and development training around the world.

The challenge is calling on large employers of nurses globally to provide leadership and development training for 20 young nurses and midwives. This will give young nurses the skills they need to play an even more influential role in global health.

To find out more about the challenge download the Nightingale Challenge brochure or head to the Nursing Now website.

Nursing Now logo

Subsidised registration rates

We are proud to support the Nightingale Challenge by offering a subsidised Nurse Executive Leadership Program registration rate of $7,000 for young nurses and midwives, aged 35 or under. To take advantage of the opportunity to access the discounted rate for yourself or a staff member please contact for more information.