Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - A conversation with National board member Annette Symes
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A conversation with National board member Annette Symes

29 Mar 2016

Ms Annette Symes is a new practitioner board member from New South Wales. Annette was appointed on 31 August 2015, for a period of three years.

Annette Symes

Annette is registered nurse and is the Executive Director, Nursing and Midwifery for Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD) where she is currently Acting Chief Executive. In her substantive role Annette is responsible for advice to the Chief Executive to enable the LHD to maintain an appropriately qualified and competent Nursing and Midwifery workforce to provide services to the community.

Annette has held senior nursing management positions since 1985 and has the title of Adjunct Professor, School of Health and Human Sciences, (Southern Cross University). She has worked clinically in the areas of general, developmental disability, psychiatric, community and dependency Nursing, holds a degree in health science, and post graduate qualifications in health planning.

On becoming a national NMBA member she said, ‘I am delighted to be able to share my passion for nursing and midwifery through the work we are doing as a national Board. Working as a new member of the NMBA is a learning experience. It allows me to recognise the incredible level policy detail, time and patience, academic rigour and consultation that is part of every guideline, standard or advisory that the NMBA create. It is a privilege to be part of it.’

Reflecting on her current role she said, ‘It is useful, as an Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, to have the perspective of how nurses and midwives at the frontline view the Board and how they view their responsibilities as healthcare professionals or understand the Board’s codes, guidelines and registration standards.’

Referring to this challenge she added, ‘It is important that nurses and midwives know who the NMBA are and what we do. Part of this is strengthening the recognition of the NMBA’s identity and part of it is connecting with nurses and midwives on an individual level. However, this is a two-way responsibility, nurses and midwives need to inform themselves and be aware of the work of the NMBA.’

She continued, ‘In reality many nurses and midwives do not connect their legislative responsibilities with the work the NMBA is doing. This is an area where I can see real potential as the NMBA kick-off a year full of stakeholder engagement with information forums around Australia. Lynette as Chair has been a great leader and advocate for the Board to get out to the frontline and speak directly to nurses and midwives and we appreciate all the participant discussions and debate in helping inform our decisions.’

Her observation of the NMBA since taking up her position are that, ‘The NMBA Board members and supporting staff are a group of committed and passionate individuals who, together, work to influence the regulatory environment to ensure the public are safe and that nurses and midwives are providing quality care within the professional standards expected of them.’

If I could say one thing to the nursing and midwifery workforce it would be, ‘you need to know about the Board you are registered with and how the NMBA regulates the professions’ of nursing and midwifery, the codes and standards that they endorse and your responsibility under the National Law.

“I also think it is important to recognise the commitment, hard work, dedication of nurses and midwives across Australia. On a whole the professions have risen to the challenges set out by the NMBA and AHPRA. Nurses and midwives are excellent at multidisciplinary team working and I feel that as a Board we should challenge ourselves this year to consider how we will extend your cross-profession and cross-board working across regulation to support all registered healthcare professionals. This could also help us become more efficient and effective regulators.’

To view other members of the NMBA go to the Board member page.

Page reviewed 29/03/2016