Australian College of Nursing CEO Kylie Ward honored with leadership award | The Canberra Times

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Australian College of Nursing CEO Kylie Ward has a blunt assessment of what makes a true leader. “Management is about systems but don’t bother being a leader if you don’t care about people,” she said. “I’m really disappointed in people who like the title, the power and the privilege. But if you’re not invested in every person that you have responsibility for, then step aside and let somebody else do it.” Putting that belief into action, Ms Ward, is the ACT recipient of the 2022 Australian Awards for Excellence in Women’s Leadership. Nominated by members of the public, the annual awards celebrate exceptional women nationally who’ve led across various industries and capacities. The national award was given to former Australia Post boss now Toll Global Express CEO Christine Holgate. The ACT award went to Ms Ward, a nurse, former executive director of nursing and midwifery and accomplished CEO. “I’m so humbled, it’s wonderful,” she said. “I couldn’t be more excited.” Ms Ward is committed to creating a platform for nurses to use their voices and change the way policies and health decisions are made. “When women’s experiences and perspectives are shared and heard at the decision-making tables, we all benefit – even more so in health,” she said. “Seventy per cent of our health workforce, and 92 per cent of the 400,000 Australian nurses are female, and yet, our voice has long been under-represented and misrepresented in key policy and program decisions. “Women have carried us through the pandemic; the time for women’s leadership to be respected and valued is now.” Ms Ward said her career as a nurse for more than 25 years meant she understood the people she was representing. She also had ran her own business and lectured in leadership at Monash University while raising her family as a single mother. She said as a leader of nurses during COVID, it was important for her to give certainty in uncertain times, be decisive and to have the courage to stand by those decisions. an advocate for improving the lives of nurses, in all respects. Her wins have included securing government funding to deliver refresher courses to non-clinical registered nurses as well as funding to deliver the online COVID-19 vaccine training course. bit of a worker bee. It’s about using my platform and my position to make sure that we get heard,” she said. “I moved to Canberra to take on this role and I was, to be honest, shocked nobody was asking for our voice. And we probably hadn’t as a profession done enough to command it. “But that’s what I’ve worked to do in my role – meet with every politician in federal government, with the states and territories. Work with the government, the opposition, the Greens, the department. “Consumers already know what nurses do. We’ve been voted for, I think, 30 years as the most trusted and ethical profession. But that doesn’t translate to having influence with decision makers and politicians, so that’s where I’ve been using my profession.” Ms Ward said nurses had been on the frontline of the war against COVID. While military troops deservedly received praised and accolades on their return from a battle, for nurses, post-COVID it seemed it was just back to business, without a break, without a parade or a medal. and Queensland whose homes are flooding but they’re going to work,” she said. “They haven’t had a break, they haven’t had days off for 18 months and now they’re into floods and trying to provide care. So there’s not even a moment to take a breath, let along be recognized in a way that they deserve.” Ms Ward will accept her award at the Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium in Canberra on May 13.


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