The keynote speakers at Nurseforce for the Future will offer new perspectives, provoking reflection and action

The APNA conference team have consulted and researched broadly to find leading speakers from diverse backgrounds to share some of their experiences and key learnings that can be applied to the journey and challenges of a nurse in primary health care.

Trailblazers, innovators, leaders – be inspired to make some changes, however big or small, to advance yourself professionally and personally.

Keynote Speakers


A trailblazer in the role of women, Jean is a public advocate for education, youth, health, equal opportunity and ageing; making her an ideal MC to lead the charge at Nurseforce for the Future.

Jean Kittson is a performer and scriptwriter for stage, television, radio, magazines and newspapers.

Jean came to national attention on 'The Big Gig'. Followed by Let the Blood Run Free, Kittson Fahey, Good News Week, the Glasshouse, Flat Chat, The Einstein Factor, Media Dimensions, Strictly Speaking, Talking ’Bout Your Generation, Studio Ten, the Today Show and she is also well known for her comedy debates for the ABC, Channel 9 and Channel ten.

She has been a regular columnist with New Weekly, Sunday Telegraph, the Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney Magazine, Inspire Magazine, the Readers Digest Health Smart magazine and The Hoopla.

She is the author of Tongue Lashing, published by Penguin.

Her film credits include Hating Alison Ashley and The Nugget.

Theatre includes Mum’s the Word, Calendar Girls, Siren, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

She is a regular panellist on ABC 702 radio drive programme, Thank God It’s Friday.

She has conversed on Conversations with Richard Fidler twice.

Jean is an experienced MC, keynote speaker, panellist, debater and facilitator of conventions, conferences, award nights and other after dinner frolics, in corporate, government and community arena.

She was a founding Director of the National Cord Blood Bank, the inaugural Chair of the Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation (AGCF) and a founding Ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia. She is currently an Ambassador for The Macular Disease Foundation, Northcott Disability Services, The Raise Foundation, Taldumande Youth Services and the Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation. She is the Patron of Junction Works and most recently she has been appointed the Patron of Palliative Care Nurses Australia.

As an advocate for women’s health issues, she was invited to speak about her experiences of menopause at the National Press Club.

This lead to her recently published book, “You’re Still Hot To Me. The Joys of Menopause.” (Pan Macmillan)

“Informative, accurate, funny and just so accessible. I love it and finally have the definitive book to recommend to my patients.” 
Dr Penny Adams, GP and medical media advocate for women’s health

Jean is married to cartoonist and political satirist Patrick Cook.

And is the mother of two daughters, Victoria 25 and Charlie, 18.


It is with great honour that APNA announce one of the most decorated women in Australian Military history, Major Matina Jewell (retired), will be addressing the group of similarly driven, capable nurses at Nurseforce for the Future.

We all walk a tight rope every day, whether it be juggling the competing demands of our workload, home life, work colleagues, management and wanting to meet the needs of patients.  As Matina will illustrate, it is how we handle adversity that will shape our development and ultimately determine our fulfilment, both professionally and personally.

In 15 years of army service, Matina worked alongside US Navy Seals blockading the Persian Gulf, took command positions beyond her years and dodged Israeli bombs while a United Nations peacekeeper in the 2006 Lebanon war, earning herself eight military service medals.

Courageous and bold, yet by no means a grandstander, Matina’s story is one of finding a way forward in high-pressure situations, of authentic leadership lessons learnt over a trailblazing military career, and a story about seeing change as opportunity, taking responsibility and empowering others.

Awe-inspiring, yet relatable: we can’t wait to hear Matina!

“Matina is hands down the best speaker I’ve experienced. Her inconceivable circumstances,raw courage, storytelling and rare ability to package her lessons in risk and leadership into a realm that we could digest and own was a gift to us all. The entire room was transfixed and moved in 45 mins.”

Nicole Hatherly, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Women in Focus

Find out more about Matina Jewell here.


A leader in quality and safety in practice, APNA are thrilled to have Debora Picone complementing the Nurseforce line up, providing practical tips on bringing about meaningful change in the workplace and beyond.

Adjunct Professor Debora Picone is a highly respected Chief Executive and leader in public administration, with extensive operating and leadership responsibility in the provision of healthcare services extending from clinical, academic, hospital, area health service, Deputy-Director General and Director-General positions.

Through a quality led governance approach and applying the value systems of learning organisations, Professor Picone has been privileged to make the lives of people better by consistently delivering high performing organisations, within a balanced budget, that have improved the health of people, patient safety and access to health care.

“Nurses hold a very special position in the hearts of the community."

Debora Picone worked in the public health system for 36 years and was the first nurse to be appointed Director-General of NSW Health, a position she served with distinction from 2007 to 2011.

"For all of us, exercising leadership gives meaning to our lives, it allows us to contribute to the lives of others and in many small and sometimes large ways, we get to make the lives of other people better."

“What unites us is something that is greater than all of us; we are a part of a profession that every year makes the lives of millions of people better."

“We teach and research and these traditions and services are carried on."

Robbie Bedbrook is a Registered Nurse with a passion for health promotion and social justice.

Robbie works predominantly in Primary Health Care (PHC) with a special interest in sexual health, mental health and managing chronic illness.

In 2016 he founded the health promotion channel Hot on Health, which seeks to use video content to improve rates of health literacy and promote the under-developed and under-represented field of PHC nursing.

In 2017 Robbie was named a finalist for Recently Graduated Nurse of the Year by the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA).

Since then he has expanded his role in the field of PHC through various consulting roles with local government bodies and universities.

Robbie is also a member of the Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum to engage young people to improve the state of the world.



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