The admiration patients have for nurses is humbling and inspiring, yet when it comes to being comprehensively consulted on health care issues, nurses are battling for recognition. The Australian College of Nursing’s (ACN) second annual Policy Summit in Canberra was designed to prepare nurses for seats at the policy-making table, and to recognise the constantly changing landscape of the provision of patient care and services within the Australian health care system.

ACN was pleased to announce Dr Diana J. Mason PhD, RN, FAAN from the United States as the guest Keynote Speaker for the Policy Summit this year. Dr Mason is the current Senior Policy Service Professor, Co-Director of the Center for Health Policy and Media Management, George Washington University School of Nursing and former editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Nursing. She is an expert in her field with an international presence, has an extensive career in health policy and has particular interests in nurse-designed models of care.

We were also proud to host keynote speakers, Ms Glenys Beauchamp PSM – Secretary, Australian Government, Department of Health, Professor Emerita Jill White AM, RN, RM, MEd, PhD, MHPol, FACN – Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Professor John Pollaers – Chair, Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce.

On Friday 20 April, the Summit was attended by over 80 nurse leaders from around the country to meet and discuss their respective Policy Chapter subjects – Healthy Ageing, Workforce Sustainability, End of Life Care and Chronic Diseases – which set priorities in which the profession will be working towards for the next 12 months.

Participants at the ACN Policy Summit agreed that over the next 12 months the profession must advocate for:

  • Innovative practices that may aid in better management and prevention of chronic disease and the care of people with chronic conditions;
  • Support the regulation of the third tier Assistants in Nursing (however named) to improve patient safety
  • Practical implications for nurses of the introduction of assisted dying legislation;
  • Establish minimum guidelines for nurses caring for older Australians.

You can view the presentations from our four Policy Chapter Chairs at our Facebook page, which were shared by live video from the Summit. For further updates on the discussions that happened on the day, browse the hashtag #ACNPolicySummit on Twitter.

Thank you to our wonderful Policy Chapter Chairs and Deputy Chairs for their contribution to the Summit:

Healthy Ageing

Chair – Professor Deborah Parker, Professor of Nursing Aged Care (Dementia) at University of Technology Sydney

Deputy Chair – Nancy Arnold, Director of Care at The District Nurses

Workplace Sustainability

Chair – Professor Leanne Boyd, Executive Director Nursing and Cabrini Institute

Deputy Chair – Adjunct Associate Professor Alanna Geary, Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Services at Metro North Hospital and Health Services

End of Life Care

Chair – Professor Patsy Yates, Head, School of Nursing at Queensland University of Technology

Deputy Chair – Dr Melissa Bloomer, Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Deakin University

Chronic Diseases

Chair – Professor Lisa Whitehead, Professor or Nursing Research at Edith Cowan University (ECU)

Deputy Chair – Robyn Quinn, General Manager of Sydney Pain Management Centre at Parramatta and Sydney Adventist Hospital


As ACN CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said, “the Policy Chapters will now develop, in consultation with the wider profession, key initiatives to achieve these aspirations and advocate for their introduction.”

ACN will share more policy outcomes as the Policy Chapters continue their important work into the future.


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