New Nursing Council chief executive Catherine Byrne says she wants nursing regulation to continue to be “forward focused, evidence based, flexible and the right touch”.

Byrne has stepped down from her role as Council chair in anticipation of yesterday’s announcement that she will step into the shoes of retiring CEO Carolyn Reed as both chief executive and registrar of the regulatory body for the country’s about 57,000 nurses. Her appointment follows the recent announcement of Margareth Broodkoorn’s appointment as the country’s new Chief Nursing Officer.

Jane Bodkin, acting chief nursing officer, said the Office of the Chief Nursing Officer welcomed the appointment of the former chair and current director of nursing (DoN) for Taranaki District Health Board who was widely respected by the sector for her wealth of nursing operational and governance experience. She said the office had had regular contact with Byrne in both her DoN and chair roles and was looking forward to working closely with her in her new role.

“Taranaki’s loss is the Nursing Council’s gain. Catherine’s appointment ensures the Nursing Council will be in good hands following Carolyn Reed’s decision to retire,” said Bodkin.

The College of Nurses executive director Professor Jenny Carryer also welcomed the appointment saying Byrne brings a highly appropriate breadth of experience to the role.

“I am so glad the role has been taken by a New Zealander who understands our context and will build on the stellar work led by the Carolyn Reed.”

Likewise New Zealand Nurses Organisation chief executive Memo Musa said he was delighted at Byrne’s appointment as she brought to the role her wealth of nursing practice and leadership experience and her insight and understanding as a previous chair of the Council.

“I am sure that under her guidance the NCNZ will strive for great heights in ensuring public safety, whilst advancing professional nursing standards and practice; ensuring excellence in nurse education; and in continuing good stakeholder engagement practices.”

Byrne says she sees her new role as a great opportunity to combine her leadership experience, nursing regulation knowledge and her connection to the practice reality of nursing.

She said she was very much looking forward to working with the Nursing Council team and key stakeholders across the sector and continuing the work set out in the Council’s strong strategic plan.

“I intend to build upon the  wonderful work that Carolyn and the team have achieved in regards to ensuring that our nursing regulatory practices are forward-focused, evidence-based, flexible and the right touch.

“The role of the Nursing Council is to protect the public by the regulation of nurses, however regulation also needs to be connected and relevant to the profession,” she said.

Byrne takes up the role in March and said as the Nursing Council’s business was complex she would be spending the first few months getting to understand that business better and building relationships across the sector.

The Taranaki-born and trained nurse – whose roles included being a charge nurse and nursing advisor at Starship Children’s Hospital before returning to Taranaki – said she would be sad to be leaving her DoN role.

“I am proud of the nursing achievements here at Taranaki. The nursing team is a strong team, with the best care to patients and families first and foremost in their sights. I have been astounded by the nursing team’s commitment and passion to their profession and the Taranaki community. They are a strong team of nurses and I will always hold them in the highest regard.”


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