Policy Chapters
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The Australian College of Nursing runs Policy Chapters under the expert leadership and guidance of our highly regarded Chairs and Deputy Chairs. The aim of the Chapters is to provide opportunities for nursing leaders and experts to inform change and guide future directions through collaboration.

Each Policy Chapter focuses on a specific issue and draws on the specialised skills and expertise of members of ACN and external stakeholders to work with and influence government and policy makers.

The Policy Chapters for 2022 are:

  • Chronic Disease
    The focus: To identify gaps in health care provision for people with chronic or complex conditions due to restrictions or fear of COVID-19; and recommendations to address any identified gaps through nursing.
  • Emissions Reduction
    The focus: Identify the intersection of social determinants of health (gender, geography, and socio-economic status) and climate change impacts; and recommendations for nurses to drive best practice in health care delivery to address these challenges.
  • Workforce Sustainability
    The focus: The impact of long COVID-19 on nurses personally and professionally, as the pandemic evolves, and recommendations for government and employers to best support nurses.

Policy Chapter Publications

ACN’s Policy Chapters contribute to and influence policy development through a variety of documents including position statements, White Papers and toolkits. In addition, the Policy Chapters often develop evidence-based articles for publication and inclusion in peer-reviewed journals, highlighting contemporary and emerging issues in health and nursing.

Policy Chapter Chairs


Professor Lisa Whitehead FACN

Chronic Disease: Chair

» About me

Lisa’s research experience over the past 23 years has centred on improving health outcomes for people living with chronic conditions, self-management interventions and working with families to support the management of chronic conditions. Engagement with clinicians and conducting research in real world settings underpin all of her research activities with the aim to implement enduring evidence based change in practice. The majority of Lisa’s research and clinical practice has been in the primary health care setting and collaborations are always multidisciplinary. In her role as Professor of Nursing Research, at Edith Cowan University (ECU), Western Australia, Lisa leads the research group “Improving health outcomes for people living with chronic conditions”. Lisa also holds the roles of Associate Dean Research, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Director of the Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Services Research, ECU and is an honorary professor of research at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Previous positions include the roles of Head of Department and Director of the Strategy to Advance Research (STAR) in nursing and allied health, a national initiative funded by the New Zealand government.

Lisa has been awarded over $5 million in research funding during her career and is currently an investigator on an $1.11 million grant to explore factors predicting regression from pre-diabetes to normal glucose regulation, funded by the Health Research Council (HRC) of New Zealand.

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Aletha Ward

Dr Aletha Ward PhD MBA BNurs R.N gAICD MACN

Emissions Reduction: Chair

» About me

Aletha is a Registered Nurse with a PhD in social health policy. A researcher and lecturer within the University sector, she is passionate about advocating for health equity through policy shifts that influence our social, cultural, environmental and commercial determinants of health.  Aletha is driven to work with communities to empower, educate and support them to build their capacity and resilience.

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Adjunct Professor Alanna Geary FACN

Workforce Sustainability: Chair

» About me

Alanna is the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Australia’s largest hospital and health service.

Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing
Chair of the Workforce Sustainability Policy Chapter Australian College of Nursing
Board Member of the RBWH Foundation
Deputy Chair of the RBWH Alumni
Board Member STARS Education & Research Alliance Board Metro North Health

Alanna has been the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Metro North Health (MNH) for 7 years, during 4 of these years she held the role of Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery and Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

Alanna has professional oversight for approximately 9000 Nurses and Midwives across the health service. Alanna has worked in healthcare as a nurse and midwife for over 40 years with the greatest proportion of that in senior nursing and midwifery roles at the RBWH.  Alanna completed her hospital-based General Nursing Training in 1984, Midwifery in 1988, Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Southern Queensland 1994 and a Master of Health Science obtained in 2001 from Griffith University.  Alanna is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing and holds Adjunct Professor titles from University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, Australian Catholic University, and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Alanna has extensive healthcare leadership and management experience and is passionate about the role of nurses and midwives in the delivery of healthcare and the development of the profession to provide contemporary models to support excellence in clinical care.  Additionally, she is committed to ensuring that nurses and midwives of are at the forefront of all clinical and healthcare matters and decision making.  In addition, she is keen to ensure that nurses and midwives lead and participate in research which is nurse-centric and patient centred and has been instrumental in the development of research programs and initiatives which support nurses and midwives to lead research.

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Policy Chapter Deputy Chairs


Ms Robyn Quinn FACN

Chronic Disease: Deputy Chair

» About me

Robyn is the General Manager of Sydney Pain Management Centre at Parramatta and Sydney Adventist Hospital a position she has held for over 20 years. Robyn initially commence as the clinical co-ordinator for the patients but after completing an MBA advanced to General Manager of the Centres.

Over this time Robyn has been closely involved with the advancement of Pain Management. Robyn was the first nurse and female to be a council Member of the Australian Pain Society, a member of the International Association of Pain Taskforce for Guidelines for Nurse Pain Curriculum.

Robyn is also closely involved  in the area of Quality Management in Health and has been President of the Australian Association of Quality Healthcare for the past two years.

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Mark Holmes

Mr Mark Holmes MACN

Emissions Reduction: Deputy Chair

» About me

Mark is a registered nurse, midwife, educator and human factors practitioner who has been inspired to join with other nurses in fighting climate change.

Mark completed the ACN Policy Fellowship in 2021 and is looking forward to continued learning in the Policy arena in 2022 and beyond.

Mark works as a Flight Nurse Midwife Educator and has over 20 years’ experience in critical care nursing, rural and remote nursing, aeromedical, human factors and nurse education. Mark is passionate about climate justice and planetary health as Nurses lead the navigation of the Anthropocene.

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Jenny Weller-Newton

Professor Jenny Weller-Newton FACN

Workforce Sustainability: Deputy Chair

» About me

Jenny is the Head of Discipline – Nursing at the University of Canberra, and Honorary Principal Fellow in the Department of Rural Health at the University of Melbourne. She is a highly experienced academic and researcher with research experience and project management across workplace learning in healthcare, interprofessional practice, and primary healthcare. She has a long-standing passion in diversity and inclusion.

Jenny has published over 180 refereed papers/conference abstracts and is an Editor for Collegian and Associate Editor for The Clinical Teacher. She is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing, State Chair Victoria Network, and an inducted member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

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