Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer - Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms

Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms is the Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer (CNMO).

Page last updated: 06 May 2019

Debra Thoms is the CNMO for the Australian Government and is responsible for providing high-level advice on nursing and midwifery issues. She also participates in the formulation and implementation of policy and strategic direction in relation to health care in Australia.

She was formerly the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Australian College of Nursing, a position she took up in mid-2012 following six years as the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer with NSW Health.

Debra is a registered nurse and registered midwife and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics/Psychology), Master of Nursing Administration and Graduate Certificate in Bioethics. She has also completed an Advanced Diploma of Arts (History/French) and a Governance and Risk Management Certificate.

Debra Thoms CNMO

During her career Debra has gained broad health management and clinical experience including as a clinician in remote and rural Australia, as CEO of a rural area health service, general manager of the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney and as Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer within the Health Departments of South Australia and New South Wales.

In 2005 Debra was selected to attend the Johnson and Johnson Wharton Fellows Program and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Her contribution to nursing and health care has been recognised by an Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Technology, Sydney and she also holds appointments as an Adjunct Professor with the University of Technology, Sydney.

Monthly CNMO newsletters

If you would like archived newsletters, please contact the Office of the CNMO, email

Nursing and Midwifery Strategic Reference Group (NMSRG)

The Nursing and Midwifery Strategic Reference Group was established to enable key nursing and midwifery experts to provide comment and advice to the Department of Health and the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer (CNMO). The NMSRG is chaired by the CNMO and membership is comprised of nursing and midwifery representatives from the following sectors:

  • Education;
  • Regulatory;
  • Professional nursing and midwifery organisations including Indigenous professional organisations; and
  • Public and private health service delivery including acute, primary and community care, rural and remote, and aged care.

National Nursing and Midwifery Education Advisory Network (NNMEAN)

The National Nursing and Midwifery Education Advisory Network (NNMEAN) is an advisory body responsible for the provision of high level strategic advice to Health Ministers on issues relating to the future planning, coordination and development of the nursing and midwifery workforce in Australia. For further information about NNMEAN, please visit the NNMEAN website.


Educating the Nurse of the Future - Independent Review of Nursing Education

An independent review of nursing preparation in Australia – Educating the Nurse of the Future was announced as a measure within the 2018/19 Federal Budget.

Led by Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz AM, the Review will be future focussed and will consider how the education and preparation of nurses in Australia will ensure the nursing workforce is well placed to meet the future needs of Australian communities and our health system.

The Review will give consideration to the attraction into nursing as a career, international competitiveness of Australian based education programs and articulation and career paths of the preparation programs for enrolled and registered nurses and nurse practitioners.

Information on consultations to inform the review can be found on the Department of health consultations hub.

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For any nursing and midwifery enquiries, please email