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What is the Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program?

The Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program is a dynamic 6-month course which empowers nurses to lead change in a rapidly changing environment. If you are a registered nurse who has more than six years of professional experience and have worked in or are new to the management and leadership role, this course is for you.

By taking part in this innovative course, you will be empowered and aspired through personal development, career coaching and learning sets. Once you graduate, you will be equipped with the skills to lead health workplace cultures through innovation, redesign and change. You will have honed the ability to develop high-performing teams that have a culture of success and achievement.

Start your unlimited leadership journey today, be a more successful leader

The ACN Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program represents a powerful opportunity for you to develop the skills and behaviours that will differentiate you as a leader in today’s changing health care environment. As a high potential mid-career nurse leader, you will be supported to achieve with the knowledge and skills of experts in their fields.

You will receive six months of coaching from ACN’s Members and/or Fellows who will provide you with feedback and guidance, in order to practice meaningful, outcome-driven coaching conversations.

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About the program

For you to participate in this innovative program, you will need to meet the following selection criteria:

  • Be currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA)
  • Have a minimum of six years’ postgraduate experience or be able to demonstrate an ability to influence organisations, team practices and/or cultures
    Such as nurse leaders seeking promotion into a management position
  • Be able to demonstrate leadership qualities in nursing and/or the health or aged care systems
    Such as recently appointed managers seeking to fast-track their development into confident self-directed leaders
  • Ability to complete the program work during the six-month timeframe

Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program masterclasses will take place on the following dates:

  • 20-24 March 2023 (Melbourne)
  • September 2023 (date/location TBC)

You can apply now to secure your spot or register your interest to be notified as soon as more information becomes available.

On successful completion of this 6-month program, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the health and aged care systems in Australia and articulate the regulatory framework for the nursing profession
  • outline the health challenges of the 21st century and provide examples of how nursing is leading the way in meeting these challenges
  • lead health workplace cultures through innovation, redesign and change
  • apply the fundamentals of management to the workplace
  • demonstrate nursing leadership in developing high-performing teams that have a culture of success and achievement
  • identify key factors when evaluating effective workplace performance and patient care
  • demonstrate self-awareness and resilience that empowers you as a nurse leader.
  • Nursing leadership and strategy
  • High-performing teams leading and managing quality improvements
  • Clinical governance
  • Human resource management and communication
  • Health economics and financial management

What do I need to complete the program?

You will have successfully completed the program once you demonstrate the following:

  • Completion of the five-day face-to-face masterclass
  • Participation in coaching sessions
  • Submission of written work demonstrating completion of a project/quality improvement initiative in line with the program modules

Plus, one or more of the following:

  • Participation in research and/or publishing on key nursing issues
  • Participation in action learning sets
  • Representation of the nursing profession
  • Demonstrated public speaking and presentation

What do I gain from completing this program?

You will be recognised as completing the Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program delivered by highly respected senior nursing leaders in Australia. You will receive 36 hours towards your CPD requirements.

Once you have completed this program you will automatically become part of our dynamic, inspiring and talented alumni community. As an alumni participant you can access a range of benefits and services.

This course is valued at $5,500. At this time, ACN is extending two special offers for our members and Affiliate* organisations:

  • ACN members: gifted a 10% discount, bringing the course fee to $4,950
  • ACN Affiliates (*Platinum, Gold and Silver): gifted a 10% discount, bringing the course fee to $4,950
  • Non-members: $5,500 (be sure to contact membership@acn.edu.au should you wish to become a member)

The enrolment fee does not cover travel and accommodation costs associated with attendance at the face-to-face workshop for the program.

Christine Duffield

Emeritus Professor Christine Duffield FACN

President, Australian College of Nursing and Professor of Nursing and Health Services Management, University of Technology Sydney and Edith Cowan University

» About me

Christine Duffield is an internationally renowned and passionate nurse who has worked across direct care, consultancy, academia, research and in leadership roles to spearhead the advancement of the nursing profession in Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and Australia for over 40 years. She is a Professor of Nursing and Health Services Management at Edith Cowan University, Perth; Emeritus Professor University of Technology Sydney and President/Chair Australian College of Nursing.

Having published over 200 research papers, Christine was named in Mendeley’s Top 100,000 Cited Researchers of the World in 2020. Christine is also the Associate Editor for the International Journal of Nursing Studies, the most highly ranked international nursing journal.

Christine led the development of the first five industry funded Chairs of Nursing in Australia and has been instrumental in establishing key institutions including the Centre for Graduate Nursing Studies (1989) and the Centre for Health Services Management (1999).

Christine has held numerous senior University roles on Academic and Graduate Students Committees and has made a significant impact to the nursing profession by attracting over $14M in research funding as Chief Investigator, supervised 30+ research students and examined 30+ research theses.

Christine is an experienced Board Director who has established and chaired Clinical Governance Committees for two aged care Boards.

As the President/Chair of the Australian College of Nursing (ACN), she has led the review of the ACN Constitution, governance policies and procedures and assisted in moving to a skills-based Board.

A skilled leader, Christine has been a member of State and Commonwealth Committees including Health Workforce Australia; Grants Committee Rosemary Bryant Centre; NHMRC and ARC expert review panels; Australian Commission on Safety and Quality Advisory Committee – Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration and has represented Australia on panels for the International Council of Nurses.

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Kylie Ward

Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN

Chief Executive Officer, Australian College of Nursing

» About me

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. Mum. Transformation Specialist.

From humble beginnings, Kylie has gone on to become one of the most influential professional health leaders of the country and a formidable, passionate advocate for women, children and equality.

Kylie’s story is grounded in service to others, a vision for a greater future and a tenacity to get the job done. Kylie’s strengths lie in breaking down the walls, reframing the issue for fresh thinking and bringing people together to create long-lasting solutions.

Kylie currently serves as CEO of Australian College of Nursing (ACN). She has led a program of transformation at ACN, increasing revenue, tripling student numbers, raising awareness of the profession and building a legacy of nursing leadership, policy, sponsorship and community.

Kylie is inspired to increase the recognition of nurses and women in society. Articulating and amplifying the professional voice of nurses, ensuring they have a major seat at the table to develop health and social policy.

She has led the ACN community to find their relevance through policy leadership, political and industry influence, as such, ACN is now Australia’s beacon for Nurse Leadership.

Kylie holds honorary academic appointments with five leading Australian universities and in 2017, Kylie won Telstra Businesswoman of the Year in ACT for Purpose and Social Enterprise.

In 2022, Kylie was named the ACT Winner of the Excellence in Women’s Leadership Awards by Women and Leadership Australia and was a national finalist for two of CEO Magazine’s prestigious awards, CEO of the Year and Not-For-Profit Executive of the Year.

Kylie has served on numerous State and Territory Senate and Parliamentary Inquiries and gave evidence in 2019 at the Aged Care Royal Commission.

Before joining ACN, Kylie ran a successful consultancy specialising in transformation, executive coaching, leadership and change management. She is renowned for her business acumen, entrepreneurship, and visionary style leadership.

Kylie is a regular keynote speaker, author, media personality and mother of two men.

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Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms

Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms FACN (DLF)

Former Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer

» About me

RN RM BA MNA Grad Bioethics, Adv Dip Arts FCN FRCNA FACHSM (Hon)

Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms FACN (DLF) is the former Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, a role she held from August 2015 to July 2019. She was previously the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Australian College of Nursing, a position she was appointed to in May 2012 following six years as the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer with NSW Health.

Debra holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Psychology, Master of Nursing Administration and Graduate Certificate in Bioethics. She also holds an Advanced Diploma of Arts (History/French) and a governance and risk management qualification.

Debra is an experienced leader and manager who, following clinical roles in cardiothoracic and remote and rural nursing, has held senior roles as CEO of a rural health service, general manager of the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney as well as Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer with the South Australian Department of Health.

In her role as Commonwealth CNMO Debra represented Australia at the World Health Assembly and as a member of the Executive Board of the WHO. During 2020  she has gained experience in the tertiary sector as the acting Head of School, Nursing at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.  In 2005 Debra was selected to attend the Johnson and Johnson Wharton Fellows Program at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Her contribution to nursing and health care has been recognised by an Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Technology, Sydney, where she also holds an appointment as Adjunct Professor, and the awarding of Distinguished Life Fellowship by ACN. In 2020 as part of the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife Debra was recognised in the 100 Outstanding Nurse and Midwife Leaders for her contribution to global healthcare.

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Dr Jennifer Bichel-Findley

Dr Jen Bichel-Findlay FACN

Honorary Associate, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney and Secretary and Director, Australasian Institute of Digital Health

» About me

HScD, MN, MPH, GDipN, BAppSc, DipAppSc, CHIA, RN

Dr Jen Bichel-Findlay FACN has been employed in the health service industry for 45 years in clinical, educative and managerial roles, and understands how technology and digitisation can influence patient outcomes and service delivery efficiency in the complex healthcare environment. Having worked on several local, state and national health informatics activities, she is not only committed to supporting data driven decision making at the local level but also major health reform through innovation and digital health initiatives at a state and national level.

Jen was the inaugural Director of Digital Health & Innovation at the UTS Faculty of Health, and has co-authored chapters addressing health informatics in nursing texts. She is currently a Board Director and Secretary for the Australasian Institute of Digital Health (AIDH), Chair of the AIDH Nursing and Midwifery Community of Practice, and Vice President Special Affairs for the International Medical Informatics Association. Jen is a Fellow of both the AIDH and the Australian College of Nursing, and an Associate Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management.

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Karen Cook

Karen Cook FACN

Former Senior Nursing and Midwifery Adviser, Office of the Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer

» About me

Karen has been a registered nurse for almost 40 years.

In her lengthy career she has worked in a variety of settings here and in the UK. Most recently she was Senior Nursing and Midwifery Adviser in the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer in the Australian Government Department of Health. Prior to this she held positions as Nursing Adviser at Health Workforce Australia and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council.

In her spare time Karen is a marriage celebrant and event MC.

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Adjunct Associate Professor Susanne Hawes FACN

Adjunct Professor Sue Hawes FACN

Board Director, Australian College of Nursing, Health Executive and Consultant

» About me

MRNC, RN, BHlthSc, Grad Cert (Disability), EMBA
Greenbelt Six Sigma, CoachU Dip

Adjunct Professor Sue Hawes FACN is a registered nurse and has worked in numerous roles as a senior clinician and executive. She was the former Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer of the Northern Territory (NT) and the Executive Director of the Hazard Management Authority, which held governance and accountability for NT’s COVID-19 response.

Sue is committed to the development of others and participates in regular coaching and teaching. She enjoys collaborating with health staff to solve wicked problems that deliver improvements to service delivery. Sue is a Fellow of ACN and Board member.

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Samantha Jakimowicz MACN

Dr Samantha Jakimowicz FACN

Lecturer, University of Technology Sydney

» About me

Dr Samantha Jakimowicz is the Director Professional Engagement at the Australian College of Nursing. She recently moved to this position from the University of Technology Sydney where she worked as a Senior Lecturer for a number of years. Samantha’s clinical, education and research experience is broad, however has focused on intensive care, leadership and specialised nursing, for example prostate cancer specialist nursing. She is an experienced researcher using co-design and mixed methods research. Her research interests and expertise lie with compassion, empathy, patient experience, nurse wellbeing and workforce sustainability. She has published extensively on these topics. Samantha is passionate about nurse workforce sustainability and retention and is an active member of the Workforce Sustainability Policy Chapter, the Domestic Violence Taskforce and Deputy Chair of the NSW/Sydney Region of the Australian College of Nursing. Samantha conducts wellbeing sessions aligned with empathic listening, compassionate leadership and advocates for nurses supporting nurses.

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Mark Kearin FACN

Mark Kearin FACN

Manager Member Organising Team, ANMF

» 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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Dr Lynette Cusack MACN

Dr Lynette Cusack MACN

Outgoing Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

» About me

RN, midwife, PhD, MHA, BN, DN,MRCN Adelaide Nursing School, University of Adelaide

Dr Lynette Cusack MACN is an Associate Professor in the Adelaide Nursing School. Her research focus is on the contemporary role of the nurse/midwife in a range of different contexts; evaluating models of practice, including impact on the health care system, interdisciplinary team and patients’/women’s experience. Lynette is a member of the International Collaboration on Occupational Resilience (ICOR) and has been involved in developing models of workplace resilience for nurses/midwives. Lynette provides practice based research support to nurses and midwives at a major metropolitan hospital in South Australia. Other teaching and research contributions include leadership and management, professional practice development and disaster response. Lynette previously worked in a range of community health settings, including home nursing, community health centres and in an executive role in drug and alcohol services. Lynette also has many years of experience in nursing and midwifery regulation.

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Debra Pittam

Ms Deb Pittam MACN

Credentialed Coach ICF PCC, Counsellor, Facilitator, Supervisor and Communications Coordinator, ACN Leadership COI

» About me

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

Deb Pittam MACN is the Founder and Principal of Person Centred Leadership providing 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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Bernie Harrison

Adjunct Associate Professor Bernie Harrison

Director, Improvement Academy Adjunct Associate Professor, The University of Sydney, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards

» About me

MPH (Hons), Grad Cert Med Ed, RN, RM

Bernie Harrison is the Director of the ACHS Improvement Academy. She has over 30yrs experience in health care, as a clinician, researcher and quality and safety (Q&S) expert. She has extensive experience in designing and delivering Q&S training programs in the Asia pacific region. Her training in quality improvement and patient safety occurred in the USA in 2001 and 2010 as a Fulbright Scholar. She has extensive experience in health care system redesign and has published a Breakthrough Collaborative (Harrison et al Vox Sanguinis 2014) in improving red cell transfusion in the elective surgical setting. She co-authored the Quality in Australian Health Care Study (MJA 1995), the most cited paper in the journal’s 100yr history. Her previous positions include: Executive Director of Hospital Performance for the National Health Performance Authority and Director in the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission. Her clinical experience as a registered nurse and midwife in the UK and Australia: maternity and child health, intensive care, aged care and mental health.

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Belynda Abbott



» About me

Belynda Abbott is a Clinical Nurse Consultant in Neurosciences at the Princess Alexandra Hospital a Magnet-designated Hospital. She has worked across diverse health settings, including the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the Royal Darwin Hospital in various roles including Nurse Educator and Nurse Unit Manager. Belynda has extensive experience in neurosciences, orthopaedics, infectious diseases, hyperbaric nursing, surgical and general medicine. She has completed a Masters in Healthcare Leadership, a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Education, a Diploma in Business (Governance) and also a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Belynda assists health care professionals in meeting their full potential and purpose using her coaching qualifications.

Belynda is a well-respected Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) and newly appointed ACN Queensland State Chair. She is a mentor for the Emerging Nurse Leader program and has held a position as a Non-Executive Director of the ACN Board for the past four years. Belynda has extensive knowledge and expertise in coaching, clinical, and organisational planning, implementation and evaluation of education, training and development initiatives. She is also a co-author of a textbook on Monitoring and Administration of IV medications for the Enrolled Nurse through Cengage publishing. Belynda has an abundance of knowledge and skill to offer in guiding nursing and the healthcare profession into the future of healthcare and beyond.

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Tony McGillion



» About me

Tony is a Registered Nurse with 36 years of nursing experience in a variety of roles. He started his career in the United Kingdom and was also fortunate enough to experience cross[1]cultural nursing in Saudi Arabia. After arriving ‘on the boat’ from England, Tony worked clinically in critical care areas, then as an educator/coordinator of the graduate program at Epworth Hospital.

Tony moved into leadership and management roles, working as a NUM and as a Manager of Nursing Education teams at both Cabrini Health and Austin Health. In 2014 Tony was seconded to the Victorian government in a senior policy advisor role which segued into the Manager of the Nursing and Midwifery Workforce branch. He then went to La Trobe University as Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing Practice where he also looked after the Diploma/Bachelor transition degree in Singapore.

Tony has completed a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Health Administration and currently holds adjunct positions at the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. His current role at Western Health has a significant focus on the leadership development of our senior nurses and midwives and the role of good leadership in mitigating risks of the clinical governance failures we have seen in the past. Tony enjoys his advocacy role with the College and has mentored several mid-career and emerging nurse leaders to maximise their potential.

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Kate Renzenbrink



» About me

Kate is a Registered Nurse with extensive experience in acute care and aged care nursing including clinical education, general medicine, stroke, cardiothoracic, gynaecology and cancer nursing. As the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Information Officer at Western Health, Kate ensures that Nurses and Midwives have digital health skills to meet the challenges of contemporary practice. She holds a Bachelor of Health Informatics (Professional Honours) and is a Certified Health Informatician, Australasia as well as a Clinical Reference Lead for the Australian Digital Health Agency. Kate is the Chair of the Australian College of Nursing CNIO Community of Interest and is a strong advocate for patient-centred care and consumer involvement in healthcare using health IT tools such as My Health Record.

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Karen Tuqiri



» About me

Karen Tuqiri is the Director of Nursing at The Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney. Having worked within the public health system at both hospital and Local Health District level Karen has a broad understanding of operational and strategic priorities within the New South Wales Healthcare system.

Within the role of Director of Nursing, she is responsible for planning, developing, implementing, evaluating and governing the implementation of nursing and midwifery initiatives involving the development of nursing practice, workforce development, research capability, translation of evidence in practice and workplace culture.

Using person-centred practice as a foundation, the programs of work Karen leads focus on quality improvement, patient safety and implementing evidence-based practice change whilst developing a deeper understanding of the influence of leadership on workplace culture. Her interests focus on the use of person-centred approaches to support the ongoing development of capacity and capability of the nursing workforce with a strong focus on wellbeing, and she has skills in coaching, mentoring and facilitation of learning. She is a current PhD candidate with her area of study focused on understanding the relationship between person centred practice and patient safety.

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Apply now

Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program masterclasses  will take place on the following dates:

  • 20-24 March 2023 (Melbourne)
  • September 2023 (date/location TBC)

You can apply now to secure your spot or subscribe to program updates to be notified as soon as more information becomes available.

Note: You will need to log in to your account before applying. If you do not have an existing account, please register and follow the prompts.