2016 ORATOR - Catherine Birrell, OAM
Catherine (Kate) Birrell has over thirty years’ experience in senior nurse leadership roles. Since graduating from general nurse training in 1996, Kate has progressed her career through the ranks of staff nurse, charge nurse and hospital coordinator positions. In January 1990, Kate became the Director of Nursing at St. John of God Hospital, Geelong. In 2006, Kate was appointed Group Director Nursing for St. John of God Health Care (SJGHC) and appointed by the Australian Catholic University to the position of Clinical Associate Professor.
Kate holds a Graduate Diploma of Administration, a Bachelor of Business (Human Resources) and a Master of Health Science. She is currently a member of various nursing, health and industry boards, committees and organisations, as well as advisor to the SJGHC Nursing Development Program in East Timor.
In 2014, Kate was awarded the title of Emeritus Group Director of Nursing in recognition for her outstanding contribution to the nursing profession. In 2015, she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in the General Division.
2015 Orator - Dr Rosemary Bryant
Rosemary Bryant was the first Commonwealth Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer during the period July 2008 and June 2015. She was formerly Executive Director of Royal College of Nursing, Australia, a position she held for eight years.
She had a broad career in acute hospital and community nursing, as well as in government relations. Executive positions she has held include Director of Nursing at Royal Adelaide Hospital and also at the then Child, Adolescent and Family Health Service in SA and the chief government nursing position in Victoria. She also spent some time in private consulting undertaking projects on nursing and health. During this time she was a consultant to the World Health Organisation. Rosemary has had a broad experience in policy development both in nursing and the broader health sector.
Rosemary is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing, is Emeritus Director of Nursing at Royal Adelaide Hospital and was President of the International Council of Nurses from 2009 to 2013. She was awarded the degree of Doctor of the University by the Queensland University of Technology in 2010, by Flinders University in 2012 and the University of Technology Sydney in 2015. In June 2014 Rosemary was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.
2014 Orator - Professor Roianne West
Born and raised in Kalkadoon on her mother’s country in North-West Queensland, Professor West has over 20 years of experience in Indigenous health. Her PhD explored factors that impact on successful completions in higher education by Indigenous Australians.
Professor West was Nursing Director for Indigenous Health, and her team won a statewide equity award for delivering outstanding health services and enriching diversity throughout the workplace for their work on an Indigenous Bachelor of Midwifery program. She recently commenced a new role as the first Professor of Indigenous Health and Workforce Development – a joint position between Townsville Hospital and Health Service and Griffith University, School of Nursing and Midwifery.
Professor West’s expertise in nursing and midwifery workforce development including recruitment, education and training of Indigenous nurses and midwives and building the cultural capability of non- Indigenous nurses and midwives means her Oration will address national nursing priorities.
2013 Orator - Professor Denise Fassett
Following a number of senior academic positions in nursing, including six years as Head of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Tasmania, Professor Fassett was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Health Science in 2013.
Professor Fassett is a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Health Science, Graduate Diploma in Aged Care, Master of Nursing and a PhD. She was Chair of the Nursing Board of Tasmania from 2006 until July 2010 and appointed a member of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia in 2009, a position she currently still holds. Denise was appointed a Governing Council Member to the Tasmanian Health Organisation North, in 2012.