The role of the nursing profession in leading the repair of Australia’s broken health and aged care systems was the focus of the fifth annual Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Policy Summit.
Held in Canberra last month, The Summit brought together nursing leaders, Federal Politicians and health policy experts from across Australia to discuss how nurses can lead Australia’s post-pandemic recovery.
For those who were unable to make the day, we have provided an overview of the highlights.
The day kicked off with welcomes from ACN President Emeritus Professor Christine Duffield FACN and CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN. Attendees then got the chance to bring their policy questions straight to the key decision makers when Secretary for the Federal Department of Health Dr Brendan Murphy gave a keynote address on the role of nurses in rebuilding after COVID-19.
Following Dr Murphy was a panel discussion with Dr Helen Haines MP, Dr Anne Webster MP, Ged Kearney MP and Fiona Armstrong from Climate and Health Alliance discussing the role of nursing in rural health access, technology, climate change and systemic issues of ill-health.
2021 Updates from ACN’s Taskforce and Policy Chapters
The Four Co-Chairs of ACN’s Nurses and Violence Taskforce reflected on their work in 2021 as well as looked ahead towards the future in breakout sessions. The Taskforce will continue to advocate strongly for nursing to be a leading voice in eliminating violence against women and nurses.
For the Policy Chapters, key priorities for 2021 included:
- Chronic disease: Position Statement: The Role in Nursing Leadership in Managing Multi-morbidities and COVID-19
- Emissions Reduction: The creation of Guiding Principles Nursing Leadership in Emissions Reduction and Position Statement Ethical leadership in emissions reduction
- End of life care: Perspective Brief: Palliative and end-of-life care in aged care: A response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety
- Workforce Sustainability Chapter: Position Statements: Minimum educational qualifications for nursing staff in residential aged care settings and Skill mix in residential aged care facilities
The Violence and Nurses Taskforce and 2022 Policy Chapters also shared their vision for the year ahead at the Summit and ACN looks forward to continuing to provide updates on that work as it progresses.
Federal and Shadow Health Minister Address
ACN was honoured to have the Federal and Shadow Federal Health Ministers provide addresses at the summit. The Federal Health Minister spoke about the importance of the ongoing leadership of nurses in addressing health gaps, emphasising mental health of both consumers, colleagues and their own. The Hon Mark Butler MP praised nurses for their resilience during COVID-19 and their solidarity with their Ukrainian colleagues during their time of crisis.
The Summit was also an important time to acknowledge the exceptional contribution of ACN Foundation Policy Fellow Program participants. The 2022 Fellows were announced, and the 2021 Fellows honoured. A special tribute was given to the inaugural Policy Fellow Dr Carey Mather MACN, who graduated in 2020.
Thank you to everybody who attended the Policy Summit and those who joined the conversation on social media through the hashtag #ACNPolicySummit.