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Keynote speakers 2023

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Judith Cornell Oration

Phyllis Davis AM

PhyllisPhyllis is a long-serving ACORN member and distinguished perioperative nurse. Following a long career in public sector health care as the manager of the Randwick Campus Operating Suite Phyllis was offered the opportunity to have a 'sand change' and became the director of nursing at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On her return to Australia, Phyllis retired to Newcastle with her husband, Barry, but she has been persuaded to take on some part time work as a perioperative consultant.

For ten years, Phyllis worked with perioperative nurses in Papua New Guinea providing support and assistance to the newly formed Papua New Guinea Perioperative Nurses Society.

In 2018, Phyllis received the Order of Australia in the General Division (AM) for services to nursing, nursing education, nursing leadership and nursing international relations.

Phyllis will present the Judith Cornell Oration at 5.30 pm on Thursday 31 August.

Keynote speakers

Michelle Taylor

Michelle TaylorMichelle Taylor is a health care insider – a former critical-care nurse turned psychologist and leadership coach. With clinical experience in intensive care, Michelle has also worked in remote communities where health care pressures are intense. As a corporate trainer, Michelle has run workshops at all levels of government, and has helped clinical team leaders to get the best performance from themselves and their teams.

Michelle is the author of Transformational Nurse Identities: How to revolutionise your leadership, which transforms your relationships with your team and reduces yours and others stress.

Sandy Thomson


Sandy has over 30 years experience in health services management roles, quality systems, clinical and corporate risk management, clinical governance and accreditation. 

She has held senior roles at Fremantle Hospital, the Peel and Rockingham Kwinana Health Service and Western Australia (WA) Country Health. Sandy was also the Assistant Auditor General at the Office of Auditor General WA. 

Sandy is a lead assessor for the Australian Council on Health Care Standards and undertakes accreditation assessments for Australian and international health organisations.

In 2006, Sandy established GovernancePlus. She and her specialist team of consultants have been supporting hospitals, mental health, community, the aged and not for profit community providers across Australia with accreditation needs including providing supporting education and the mentoring of quality managers and clinicians who are interested in safety and quality