Dr Frances Hughes RN, CNZM

Executive Director , Cutting Edge Oceania

New Zealand

Dr Frances Hughes holds position as Director of Strategic Global Initiaitves CGFNS since February 2018. She held the position of CEO of the International Council of Nursing (ICN) in Geneva Switzerland for the past two years. She was appointed to transform the organisation post review by PWC. In 18 months she has successfully increased the financial viability of the organisation, instituted and implemented systems process and managed successful delivery of largest nursing congress for ICN- 9000 participants. Prior to ICN, Dr Hughes spent four years as the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Department of Health, Queensland Australia. During this time, she developed policy briefs and programmes to the value of 500m for nursing in Queensland.

Frances was the first nurse to be awarded the Harkness Fellowship in Health Care Policy (US equivalent of Rhode Scholar) from the Commonwealth Fund in New York. She spent a year in 2001 studying at the Centre for Hospital and Patient Outcomes, University of Pennsylvania with Professor Linda Aitken. During this time, she was involved in research relating to nurse practitioners, costing nursing turnover and the effects of nursing on patient outcomes.

Frances served as the Commandant Colonel for the Royal New Zealand Nursing Corp for seven years, providing strategic nursing leadership to the New Zealand Army.

From 1998 -2004 Frances held the position, Chief Nurse for New Zealand, for 8 years and during this time played a major leadership role in health care policy and nursing. Frances was instrumental in the development of government policy around nurse prescribing, primary health care, health line and rural schemes, mental health and nurse practitioners. In 2004 Frances was appointed as the first Professor of Nursing at Auckland University, Chair of Mental Health Nursing and established the centre for mental health policy, research and service development. From 2005 through to 2011 Frances worked for World Health Organisation (WHO) as the Facilitator for the Pacific Island Mental Health Network (PIMHNet). During this time she worked with 16 governments, supporting them to develop policy and plans to improve mental health. Frances has an established consultancy firm and worked for Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in the areas of disability and service evaluation and mental health. She held part time position as Executive Officer in a national disability group and established an NGO providing community residential support to those with complex mental illness.

Frances is an established scholar and has extensive publication record, publishing her first book in 2007 “Have Your Say - How to Influence Public Policy”.

Frances has a BA, MA and Doctorate in Nursing and was awarded the Queen’s birthday -New Zealand Order of Merit in 2005 for her Services to Mental Health. In 2011, Frances received a Fulbright Senior Scholarship followed by a Distinguished Alumni Service Award from Massey University in New Zealand in 2013. In 2016 she received the Chancellors Award for Excellence and the Faculty Alumni award from the University of Technology Sydney.

Frances is known for her strategic thinking, innovative and ability to “think outside of box” on key health and social policy areas. She has been commissioned to work with many NGOs and governments to assist in strategic policies and plans. She is an experienced public speaker, mediator, facilitator, company director and has large global network. Her interests include supporting agenda addressing gender disparities, restoring profession identity to migrant and displaced persons, mental health- building resilience and health policy.


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