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The Australian College of Nursing welcomes new President of the Board

Australian College of Nursing 3 mins read


11 August 2023

The Australian College of Nursing welcomes new President of the Board

The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) has today announced the appointment of Adjunct Professor David Plunkett FACN, GAICD, MBA, RN, as President, effective immediately.


Adjunct Professor David Plunkett takes over from retiring Emeritus Professor Christine Duffield, PhD (UNSW), MHP (UNSW), BScN (UWO), DNE (Armidale), RN, FACN, FAICD, FACHSM, FAAN, who has served the Australian College of Nursing as President since 2017 and on the Board since 2012.


Emeritus Professor Duffield has led the organisation through a complex pandemic, has been instrumental in ensuring growth, and rallied on behalf of nurses in Australia and around the world.


She leaves the organisation in the strongest position in its 74-year history, including the predecessor organisations. In her time as President, the Australian College of Nursing Foundation was established in 2019 and the National Nursing Archives in 2022.


Adjunct Professor Plunkett is the Chief Executive of Eastern Health, he has been an ACN Board Executive for five and a half years and Vice President for six months. He will be joined at the helm by Professor Donna L Waters BA, MPH, PhD FACN who has been appointed Vice President.


In response to his appointment Adjunct Professor Plunkett said:


“I am utterly humbled and thrilled to accept this opportunity as President of the Australian College of Nursing and the Australian College of Nursing Foundation.


“The organisation is in a very healthy position, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Board of Directors, our CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, ACN staff, fellows, members and students to keep nursing at the forefront of healthcare in Australia.


“I will work together with my colleagues to ensure our mission of Shaping Health, Advancing Nursing continues to be at the heart of all we do.


“It is time for nurses to work at the full scope of their practice, have an active and sought-after role in developing health policy, and continue to expand our skills and contribution to Australia,” said Adj. Prof Plunkett.


Adj. Prof Plunkett has extensive professional leadership experience and brings a deep understanding of the need to manage risk, promote improvements and drive performance. His ACN Presidency is effective from 11 August 2023, and was announced at ACN's annual conference, The National Nursing Forum.


For more information:

Kirsty Waterford 0403 295 934



Notes to Editors:



Board Director, Australian College of Nursing and Chief Executive, Eastern Health

Adjunct Professor David Plunkett FACN GAICD, MBA, RN is Chief Executive Eastern Health Melbourne Victoria, where he operationalises the strategic plan, quality and financial plan for the current and future financial years of the health service.

David has been an Executive for Eastern Health in Melbourne for a number of years where he provides professional leadership to the nurses and midwives within Eastern Health.

He has a deep understanding of the need to manage and mitigate risk, scope, assess and implement improvements to performance – on any aspect of health service performance.



The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is the national professional organisation for all nurses and its aim is to ensure that the Australian community receives quality nursing care now and in the future. ACN is a membership organisation with members in all states and territories, health care settings and nursing specialties. ACN is also the Australian member of the International Council of Nurses headquartered in Geneva. An organisation not afraid to challenge industry issues affecting the nursing profession or Australia’s health care, ACN is a well-connected and educated national body that drives change with people of influence to enhance the delivery of health services to the Australian community. ACN’s membership includes nurses in roles of influence, including senior nurses, organisational leaders, academics, and researchers.


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CEO - Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN - Bio


Kylie Ward. Policy Reformer. Nurse. For-Purpose Leader. Equality Warrior. Adjunct Professor. Transformation Specialist.

Kylie is the CEO of Australian College of Nursing. She has led a program of transformation at ACN, which has now become Australia’s beacon for Nurse Leadership. 

She is a major policy influencer, advocate for women, children and equality.




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