Dr Frances Hughes ONZM
Doctor of Nursing, 2003
Wellington-based Executive Director, Cutting Edge Oceania
UTS Alumni Award for Excellence – Faculty of Health 2016; UTS Chancellor's Award for Excellence
Dr Frances Hughes is at the international forefront of nursing and healthcare, responsible for leading a global force of more than 16 million nurses to ensure quality care and sound health policy for the world’s citizens.
Earlier this year, Hughes was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the International Council of Nurses – a century-old global federation of more than 130 national nurses’ associations, working to create a nursing community that is strong, connected, and able to meet the world’s health challenges. It is the first time in the organisation’s history that it has appointed a chief executive from the Southern Hemisphere.
“It is a great honour,” says Hughes. “Personally, it has meant stepping up and challenging myself, my philosophies, my beliefs and my knowledge of nursing and health.”
I am motivated by equality and social justice; by ensuring that health care is accessible and affordable to all – particularly to vulnerable populations.
Hughes has played a significant leadership role in general and mental health nursing, and been instrumental in the development of government policy around nurse prescribing, primary care and rural scholarship schemes, the nursing workforce, nurse practitioners, and mental health.
She was the first nurse to be awarded the Harkness Fellowship in Health Care Policy by the Commonwealth Fund in New York, and was a Fulbright Scholar. Hughes was the University of Auckland’s inaugural Professor of Nursing, and has held the roles of Chief Nurse for New Zealand, Commandant-Colonel of the Royal New Zealand Army Core, and Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer for Queensland’s Department of Health. In 2005, she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for her services to mental health as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Hughes spent six years as a World Health Organization (WHO) facilitator for the Pacific Island Mental Health Network and is regularly called upon by the WHO, governments and non-government organisations to consult on critical matters relating to nursing, policy and mental health across the globe.
“I am motivated by equality and social justice; by ensuring that health care is accessible and affordable to all – particularly to vulnerable populations."