Access, Influence and Innovation: First International Research and Policy Roundtable

Roundtable policy makers September 2009

In September 2009, the University of Sydney played host to world leading academics and policymakers in nursing at the inaugural Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Nursing and Midwifery International Policy and Research Roundtable.

Jill White at the Roundtable event

The event was aimed at sparking a global discussion of the role of nurses and midwives in health policy and to establish a new research paradigm in the field.

According to Professor Jill White, Dean of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, “Now is a particularly exciting time for the nursing and midwifery professions, both in Australia and internationally. There is an opening in the landscape for change and a moment in history to influence the future of health care.”

Government commitments to health care changes in Australia, the Prime Minister’s Commission into the Future of Nursing and Midwifery in England and significant health care reform in Canada and the USA presented an opportune time for world leading nurses and policy makers to meet.

"The University of Sydney has a most important social mandate as the oldest university and one of the most prestigious education institutions in Australia to influence policy internationally and locally and be a socially responsible member of the region."

The four day roundtable (1–4 September 2009) brought together academic leaders in nursing with government chief nurses and policymakers from Australia, the United Kingdom, the USA and Canada to discuss and share their perspectives on health policy and research.

“In many countries, despite nursing being up to 80 percent of the workforces, nurses to do not get a say at the policy level. This means they are missing a substantial contribution. The roundtable is a unique opportunity for us to share best practice internationally and help shape the future of health care,” said Professor White.

Guest panel at the Roundtable event

The Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery launched the roundtable with a fabulous evening with guests including Faculty alumni, friends and staff, university and government representatives and professional and industry associations. Guests were treated to presentations and a panel discussion from some of the international policy roundtable participants. They were Professor Anne Marie Rafferty (UK), Jane Salvage (UK), Dr Brenda Cleary (USA) and Sandra McDonald-Rencz (Canada).

The roundtable will form the basis of an ongoing international policy and research collaboration led by WUN universities – Sydney, Southampton and Washington.