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: 10 May 2017

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 and the University of Sydney.

Monthly CNMO newsletters

Nursing and Midwifery Strategic Reference Group (NMSRG)

The Nursing and Midwifery Strategic Group (the Group) was established to enable key nursing and midwifery experts to provide comment and advice to the Department of Health (the Department) and the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer (CNMO) on relevant nursing and midwifery policy and strategy issues. The Group is chaired by the CNMO and membership is comprised of nurse and midwife experts from the:

  • regulatory sector;
  • acute sector;
  • professional nursing and midwifery organisations;
  • Indigenous nursing and midwifery sector;
  • national nursing and midwifery education sector,
  • rural/remote nursing and midwifery sector;
  • two Directors of Nursing & Midwifery and one community nursing representative nominated by the ANZCCNM;
  • two Directors of Nursing & Midwifery from the Private Hospital sector; and
  • two Directors of Nursing from the Aged Care Sector

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

NNMEAN Communiques


Consultations can be found on the Department of health consultations hub.

Other relevant links


For any nursing and midwifery enquiries, please email