Click on each of the speaker names below to see more about each speaker and information about the session they are running.



Amanda AdrianAmanda Adrian LLB, BA, RN FACN has many years of experience in the health industry in management, safety and quality improvement in health care, nursing, policy development and review, education, law and regulation, policy and ethics in health care. Before returning to her own private practice, Amanda was the inaugural CEO of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council established as part of the national registration and accreditation scheme for health professionals.  Amanda has been particularly active in projects relating to the review and development in national health regulatory policy both in Australia and overseas and in the mediation of conflict and disputes in the health system.

Amanda is the Principal of Amanda Adrian and Associates where she undertakes a range of projects relating to the above areas of knowledge, skills and experience. She is currently also the President of the Climate and Health Alliance in Australia and was the Health Care Complaints Commissioner in NSW.

Mark AitkenMark Aitken is a registered nurse with 35 years nursing experience in various health care, community and aged care settings. He is stakeholder manager with Nurse & Midwife Support, the national 24/7 support service for nurses, midwives and students.  Mark is passionate about ensuring nurses, midwives and students receive person-centred support when they need it and is committed to advocating for the health, wellbeing and safety of nurses, midwives and students no matter where they work in Australia. Your health matters!

Click here for more information about Mark's session. 



Trent BatchelorTrent is perioperative services manager at Burnside War Memorial Hospital. He joined the ACORN board in November 2018 and is chair of the Standards Committee. 


Nataschja BudelNataschja Budel has extensive experience as a management consultant and is an expert in leading cultural change programs, leadership development programs and individual and team coaching. Her passion is to create an organisational culture in which employees are empowered and engaged. In addition, Nataschja has vast leadership experience as an executive director within consulting companies. The combination of her theoretical knowledge about leadership, her hands-on leadership experience and her experience in coaching and advising leaders underpins her role in developing current and emerging nurse leaders at ACN. 

Darlene CoxDarlene Cox has been involved in the consumer movement since the late 1990s and is a passionate advocate for improving the quality and safety of health care and for consumers shaping the services we use.

Darlene has been the Executive Director of Health Care Consumers’ Association Incorporated since 2008. She is a board member of the Capital Health Network, a member of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (APHRA) Community Reference Group and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group as well as other committees. She has had a long-standing interest in improving the quality and safety of heath care and health workforce regulation.

Click here for more information about Darlene's session.

Phyllis Davis AM - Width:200

Phyllis Davis AM is the Director of Nursing Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Sector Management from the University of Technology Sydney, is a Fellow of the Australian College of Perioperative Nurses and was awarded the Excellence in Perioperative Nursing Award in May 2018. Phyllis has also worked with perioperative nurses in Papua New Guinea providing support and assistance to the 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.

Click here for more information about Phyllis's session.

Kathy DempseyKathy Dempsey MNSc, Dip Ldrshp & Mgt, DipAppSc, RN is an accomplished infection prevention and control practitioner (ICP) now leading the health care–associated infection (HAI) program across NSW as HAI program manager for the Clinical Excellence Commission. Previously Kathy was a manager and consultant at one of the largest tertiary healthcare facilities in NSW managing a team of ICPs and a past ICP lead for NSW Infectious Diseases unit.

Kathy is the lead infection control expert on various state and national committees, chair of the NSW HAI steering committee and expert advisory committee and lead infection control clinician on numerous expert advisory committees and taskforces to NSW Health and Australian Commission. Kathy has presented at a number of conferences and forums including the International Forum on Safety and Quality in Healthcare in Paris. Kathy is a reviewer for Journal of Infectious Diseases and held a number of past executive positions on Australian Infection Control Association and is a current member of the Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control credentialling and professional standards committee.

Click here for more information about Kathy's session. 

Jed Duff

Jed Duff PhD, RN has been a registered nurse for over 20 years. He describes himself as a ‘pracademic’ – someone who helps solve real-world healthcare problems by combining the views of practitioners and academics. Jed’s focus is improving patient care through multidisciplinary health service research with an emphasis on implementation and improvement science. 

Jed is actively engaged in the national and international nursing profession. He is a fellow and past president of ACORN, a former board member of the International Federation of Perioperative Nurses and former honorary secretary of the Asian Perioperative Nurses Association.

Click here for more information about Jed's session.

Patricia FloodPatricia has worked clinically in perioperative departments across metropolitan, regional and rural organisations, progressing in both management and education roles. She is on the executive of the Victorian Perioperative Nurses Group and joined the ACORN board in May 2018 where she chairs the Journal and Research committees. Patricia is Acting Editor of Journal of Perioperative Nursing.

Paula ForanDr Paula Foran PhD is the Education Officer (webinars) and the Member Director for ACORN. She coordinates master level subjects including leadership at the University of Tasmania and is a senior lecturer for Critical Care Education Service.

Paula received her PhD for her thesis The Value of Guided Operating Theatre Experience for Undergraduate Nurses and has a number of publications to her credit including published articles and book chapters. Paula was awarded 'Most popular presenter' at the International Collaboration of Perianaesthesia Nurses in 2017 and 'Best oral presentation' at the European Operating Room Nurses Association conference in 2019. 

Bethne Hart

Bethne Hart PhD is a mental health nurse and sociologist who teachers in the School of Nursing at University of Notre Dame, Sydney. Bethne’s career history includes mental health nursing, palliative care, rural remote health, psychotherapies and psychooncology. She has implemented and coordinated a nurse-led transdisciplinary mental health therapy unit and provided clinical supervision to mental health care providers in different settings. Her research projects include cultural safety, gender safety, moral competence and the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA program). She is actively involved in the professional regulation of the nursing profession as a member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council NSW.

Click here for more information about Bethne's session.

Karen HayKaren Hay completed her education leading to registration as an enrolled nurse in 1990 at the Governor Phillip Special Hospital in what is now the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District and has spent most of her nursing years in operating suites. She completed her Diploma of Nursing (Upgrade) and Advanced Diploma of Nursing (Perioperative) through the College of Nursing in 2013.

In 2010, Karen joined the Executive Committee of New South Wales Operating Theatre Association where she has held a number of roles including as public relations officer, team leader of the Conference Committee and as a member of the professional initiatives and advocacy team. She is currently in her second term as NSW Director to ACORN and is chair of the Conference Committee for the ACORN 2020 biennial conference to be held in Sydney.

In early 2015, Karen was appointed to the Nursing and Midwifery Council of New South Wales (NMC) as a professional member (enrolled nurse) by the minister for health and was subsequently reappointed in 2018. NMC is a coregulator that manages the health, performance and conduct of registered practitioners (nursing and midwifery) and students for the protection and safety of the public in NSW.

Click here for more information about Karen's session.

Joy JensenJoy Jensen has been nurse unit manager, operating suite at Redcliffe Hospital, Metro North, Queensland and has been since 2005. Prior to this, she worked extensively as both a perioperative nurse manager and educator, gaining her experience in these roles in Victoria and Western Australia as well as Lae, PNG.  Joy is an ACORN Fellow and life member of ACORN Queensland.  She held the positions of PNAQ Honorary Treasurer from 2005 to 2010 and ACORN Director from 2010 to 2016.   


Ruth MelvilleRuth Melville has been an active member of ACORN since 1985 and has held many positions at both a state and national level including President (2010–2012), Director and Chair of the Standards Committee. She has also served as presdient of both Perioperative Nurses Assocation of Queensland  and International Federation of Perioperative Nurses (2015–2018). She has worked in the perioperative setting since 1983 and undertaken many clinical roles within the operating room and central sterile services department including anaesthetics, scrub/scout and recovery and was the ORS nurse unit manager at Nambour General Hospital for over 23 years. Ruth is currently the clinical nurse consultant for perioperative services at the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) supporting patient safety initiatives in quality, redesign, innovation and compliance to standards across the health service. 

Over the past 15 years, Ruth has represented perioperative nursing on many committees and as a speaker at state-wide, national and international level. Ruth has been actively involved with many hospital-wide accreditations and has had a strong focus on National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. She was pivotal to the Queensland State-wide Perioperative Documentation project including the implementation of the Surgical Safety Checklist and has had the opportunity to review many rural perioperative settings within Australia where she has advocated for ACORN Standards and patient safety.

Click here for more information about Ruth's session.

Randall Pearce

Randall Pearce is the managing director of THINK: Insight & Advice, a management consultancy that uses research insight to deliver strategic advice to clients in associations, not-for-profit organisations and government. 

Randall has more than fifteen years’ experience working in global consulting firms and as an independent consultant in Australia and Canada.  He holds a Master of Public Administration in the strategic management of non-government and not-for-profit organisations from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  

Prior to moving to Australia in 2003, Randall's career was focused entirely on the not-for-profit sector and working in professional associations including serving as the CEO of a 63,000-member professional association.

Click here for more information about Randall's session.

Deborah Picone - Width:200

Adjunct Professor Picone is the CEO of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. She is a highly respected chief executive and leader in public administration with extensive operating and leadership responsibility in the provision of healthcare services extending from clinical, academic, hospital, Area Health Service, deputy director general and director general positions.

Through a quality-led governance approach and by applying the value systems of learning organisations, Adjunct Professor Picone has been privileged to make the lives of people better by consistently delivering high performing organisations that have improved the health of people, patient safety and access to health care while maintaining a balanced budget.

Sally is founding partner of Health Education and Learning Partnerships.

More information to come.

Kylie WardAdjunct Professor Kylie Ward MMgt, DipAppSci (Nurs), Acute Care Cert, RN, FACN is a renowned leader and passionate CEO who has shaped the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) into a prominent and influential professional organisation. As well as leading a strong collective voice for the nursing profession to improve patient outcomes and the social determinants of health for all Australians, Kylie is driven to improve gender equality and diversity and promote the importance of women in leadership roles both nationally and internationally.

Kylie’s distinguished career has seen her hold executive positions in the largest health services in NSW and Victoria. She has been awarded honorary professorships with five universities in Australia and is a proud ACN Fellow as well as a Wharton Fellow. Kylie is a board director of two national organisations, Australian Digital Health Agency and Australian Nurse & Midwifery Accreditation Council, as well as being appointed by the minister of health to several national committees.

Kylie has received widespread recognition and received multiple awards including the 2017 ‘ACT Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award for Social Purpose and Enterprise’ and 2018 ‘Western Sydney University Prestigious Alumni’s Award for Professional Excellence’.

Carolyn WilliamsCarollyn is an ACORN Fellow and life member and has worked in perioperative nursing as a clinician, unit manager and in education for over four decades. Carollyn served as honorary secretary and was Chair of the Censor Panel on the ACORN Board for four years and in 2006 was project manager for the review of the ACORN Competency Standards.  Carollyn wrote the history of VPNG Unmasked: A history of VPNG 1957-2007 and in 2017 compiled the ACORN commemorative journal Tall oaks from little acorns grow: Commemorating 40 years 1977–2017. In 2015 her health service awarded Carollyn their highest accolade, a life time achievement award. ACORN bestowed the Excellence in Perioperative Nursing award on Carollyn in 2008 and in 2016 she delivered the Judith Cornell Oration titled ‘The Getting of Wisdom’at the ACORN national conference. She is also a life member of the Victorian Perioperative Nurses Group (VPNG) and served on the committee for more than ten years. 

Click here for more information about Carollyn's session. 

Wendy Wood

Wendy Wood MHA, BN, RN is a management consultant and adviser currently employed by Queensland Health to assist Redcliffe Hospital in achieving compliance with AS / NZS 4187 by 2021. She sits on the Better Care Victoria Board and is a member of the Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner Advisory Committee and a lead assessor for Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.

Wendy’s previous leadership appointments include CEO, deputy CEO, executive director and perioperative services manager. Wendy also held an honorary clinical associate professorship in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne from 2010 to 2014 and is a sought-after expert career advisor.

Click here for more information about Wendy's session.