Past speakers
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The inaugural Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program featured the following list of high calibre speakers. Stay tuned for the release of the 2020 Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program speaker lineup.

Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms

Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms FACN (DLF)

Former Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer

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

Debra Thoms is the former Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, a role she commenced in August 2015. 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.

During her career Debra has gained broad management and clinical experience including as a clinician in remote and rural Australia, 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 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.

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Dr Jennifer Bichel-Findley

Dr Jennifer Bichel-Findlay FACN

Associate of the Faculty, Honorary, UTS

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

Jen 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 the Secretary for Nursing Informatics Australia and the Health Informatics Society of Australia, and is a Fellow of both the Australasian College of Health Informatics and the Australian College of Nursing.

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Professor Christine Duffield FACN

Professor Christine Duffield FACN

Australian College of Nursing President and Professor of Nursing and Health Services Management, UTS & ECU

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Professor Christine Duffield 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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Liz Hanna FACN

Dr Liz Hanna FACN

Researcher, ANU and Chair Environmental Health Working Group

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Liz Hanna Chairs the Environmental Health Working Group for the World Federation of Public Health Associations. This follows her Environmental Health leadership with the Public Health Association of Australia since 1992, including 7 years as Environmental Health Convenor & several terms on the PHAA Governing Council, for which she received the 2017 PHAA President’s award. Dr Hanna is an Honorary Senior Fellow at the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University where she directed Australia’s largest climate and health project investigating heat tolerance.

Her career began in ICU’s, progressing to NUM, ADON and Foundation Head of School of Nursing at La Trobe Shepparton Campus, via a BA in Philosophy, a Masters in Public Health & a PhD. Her PhD examined exposures, risk recognition and avoidance, health risks and health outcomes against Australia’s health sector preparedness to identify and manage chemical exposure related illnesses.

In 2008, she moved to ANU to convene the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Human Health, where she focussed on NHMRC funded research into climate change and health, and conducting Climate Vulnerability Assessments for Victoria and the Pacific Islands. All of which ultimately led her to a 6 year term as President of the Climate and Health Alliance.

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Adjunct Associate Professor Susanne Hawes FACN

Adjunct Professor Susanne Hawes FACN

Australian College of Nursing Board Director and Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, NT

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

Sue has worked in the health and welfare sector for over 35 years. As a senior clinician and health executive, she has extensive experience in strategic and operational management and a proven track record of leading large scale system quality improvements. Committed to the development of others, she regularly participates in coaching and mentoring, working with the Agency for Clinical Innovation, NSW Ministry and the Emerging Nurse Leader (ENL) program for the Australian College of Nursing (ACN).

Sue currently works in the Northern Territory, as the Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery and has acted in the Chief Nursing and Midwifery role for over 9 months there. She is a Director on the ACN Board and holds adjunct appointments at Queensland University of Technology and Charles Darwin University. She is a Fellow of ACN and an Associate Fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Management.

Sue has worked for; Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service (CHQ HHS) establishing their quality improvement framework called iCARE; PWC as a Director on their national health consultancy team; and NSW Health where she led a state-wide transformational change program supporting nursing/midwifery unit managers called “take the lead”.

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Mark Kearin FACN

Mark Kearin FACN

Manager Member Organising Team, ANMF

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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 Queensland. 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 Kylie Ward FACN

Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN

Australian College of Nursing Chief Executive Officer

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

Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN is a renowned leader and a passionate CEO who has shaped the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) to become a prominent and influential professional organisation. As well as leading a strong and collective voice for the nursing profession to improve patient outcomes and the social determinants of health for all Australians, Kylie is also driven to improve gender equality and diversity as well as promoting the importance of women in leadership roles both nationally and internationally.

Kylie’s distinguished career spans almost three decades, and has seen her hold Executive positions in the largest health services in NSW and Victoria. Through her commitment to reform, transformational change and leadership development, she has been awarded honorary Professorships from Monash University, Deakin University, University of Technology Sydney, Western Sydney University and Federation University.

Kylie is the first nurse to be appointed by the Federal Minister as a Board Director of the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA). She is a Board Director of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Advisory Council (ANMAC), as well as serving Ministerial appointments to the Aged Services Industry Reform Committee (IRC) and the Health Translation Advisory Committee (HTAC) of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Dedicating her career and purpose to empowering others, Kylie has received widespread recognition and received multiple awards including the 2017 ACT Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award for Social Purpose and Enterprise and 2018 Western Sydney University Prestigious Alumni’s Award for Professional Excellence.

Kylie is an inspiring leader with a flair for inspiring others and promoting a socially responsible and progressive culture. A motivational executive, Kylie has led thousands with her holistic, innovative and transformational approach to leadership, focusing on building resilience and empowering people to meet organisational challenges.

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Dr Veronica Croome

Dr Veronica Croome MACN

Chief Nurse, ACT Health (former)

» About me

Veronica (Ronnie) Croome was appointed Chief Nurse for ACT Health in January 2009. Since commencing in the role, Ronnie has overseen the development of a career path for Enrolled Nurses, expansion of the Advanced Practice Nurse role, the employment of Eligible Midwives, the introduction of Assistants in Nursing and the creation of a Clinical Nurse Coordinator role as part of a Ward Leadership program.

Ronnie has overseen a number of Enterprise Agreements for Nurses and Midwives in the ACT which have resulted in improved employment conditions, introduced a workload methodology for inpatient units, led the work on a publicly funded homebirth trial and held the important role of Executive Sponsor for the Respect, Equity and Diversity Framework, a whole of government initiative aimed at improving workplace culture.

During her time with ACT Health, Ronnie has been nominated for several awards including finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards (2012) and an ACT Public Service Award for Excellence in 2013. Ronnie was named as an Honoured Friend of CIT in 2014 and delivered the Occasional Addresses to graduands at the University of Canberra and at the Canberra Institute of Technology. She has served as a Board member on Our Wellness Foundation, the Canberra Hospital Foundation and as a Council member of the Canberra Institute of Technology.

In 2018 Ronnie was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra for services to nursing and the ACT community.

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Dr Lynette Cusack MACN

Dr Lynette Cusack MACN

Chair Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

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

Dr Cusack 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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Tania Dufty MACN

Tania Dufty FACN

ACN Director, Strategy

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Tania joined the Australian College of Nursing in 2017 and is now ACN’s Director – Strategy where she has led a number of strategic initiatives including establishing the Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program. She has over 15 years’ experience in senior nursing and executive positions in the public health care system in the tertiary and rural and remote environments. Her last role being Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery for Southern NSW Local Health District where she was professionally responsible for 1,600 nurses and midwives across rural and remote areas.

Tania has extensive experience in strategic and operational management and a proven track record in leading large scale organisational change, including the establishment of Australia’s first public nurse-led Walk-in Centre in the ACT where registered nurses and nurse practitioners assess and treat people presenting with minor injuries and illnesses. This model of care has been expanded in the ACT and is now being rolled out in other states.

Tania’s success as a nurse leader and in leading system wide change has been underpinned by her completion of a Masters in Health Administration, UNSW where she was awarded the 2/5 Australian General Hospital Association Prize in Health Services Management (Nursing) and a Diploma in Project Management. Tania is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Managers and a Member of the Australian College of Nursing.

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Flavia D'Ambrosio

Flavia D’Ambrosio

Director – Workforce Culture and Leadership

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Flavia is the Director of Workforce Culture and Leadership at Canberra Health Services and first joined the team in 2011. Flavia is a qualified and experienced trainer/adult educator, and consultant with over 30 years’ experience in the learning and organisational development fields. Flavia has worked in federal government, the community sector and as a consultant. She is passionate about improving workplace culture through developing leadership and management capabilities and engaging with staff.

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Dr Christine Dennis

Dr Christine Dennis

Chief Executive Officer, ACHS

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Dr Dennis joined the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) in July 2014 as the Chief Executive Officer. Prior to this she held the positions of Chief Operating Officer Top End Health Service and acting CE Northern Territory Health.

Commencing in nursing and having worked in the health care industry for over 35 years, Dr Dennis brings academic and practical experience in both corporate and clinical governance and recognises the importance of developing the necessary assurance frameworks to address patient safety and quality care.

Dr Dennis also brings strong strategic leadership skills, knowledge and experience to the position, coupled with a high level of engagement across the health sector. Her skillset complements the executive staff at ACHS and her aim is to position ACHS at the forefront of the safety and quality agenda.

“I aim to boost ACHS’s long-time position as a leading provider of products and services for accreditation and further develop ACHS’s role in supporting and driving performance excellence in safety and quality programs across a broad range of health service providers and for our consumers,” she said.

“As Chief Executive Officer, I place a high priority on continuing to increase ACHS’s visibility, participation and leadership in national and international efforts to provide leadership in safe and effective care of the highest quality.”

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