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23-25 October 2024, Naarm/Melbourne. We are now accepting abstract submissions. Click here to learn more or to register and access the early-bird discount.

40th CRANAplus Conference Preview

15 Aug 2023

Catch up on the speakers, pre- and post-conference events, and social opportunities that you can expect at the 40th CRANAplus Conference in Cairns this October.

On 10 – 12 Octo­ber, for the 40th CRANAplus Con­fer­ence, the remote health work­force is head­ing to the Cairns Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Gimuy/​Cairns, Queensland. 

This year’s theme is Build­ing on 40 Years of Strength for a Sus­tain­able, Skilled & Safe Workforce’. 

Our sig­na­ture annu­al event gives nurs­es, mid­wives and oth­er health pro­fes­sion­als a chance to recon­nect with the remote health com­mu­ni­ty, have their say, and ben­e­fit from tar­get­ed pro­fes­sion­al development. 

For our 40th, we’ll be cel­e­brat­ing the past 40 years, focus­ing on present pri­or­i­ties, and plan­ning for the future.

The conference program

We are less than two months away from celebrating our 40ᵗʰ CRANAplus Conference at the Cairns Convention Centre in Gimuy/Cairns, Queensland. Those who are yet to register can secure a discounted early-bird rate until August 22.

See below for conference highlights or click to view the program.

2023 Conference Program Register now

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Alison McMillan PSM

Opening address from the Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer

A registered nurse for over 40 years, Prof. McMillan provides high-level strategic policy advice to the Australian Government and the Executive and staff within the Department of Health and Aged Care on nursing, midwifery, health system reform, health workforce, regulation, and education.

Hon Ged Kearney MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care

Introduction to Day Two

Ged Kearney is the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care and the Federal Member for Cooper. Ged started her working life as a nurse and rose to become Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation. From 2010, Ged served as the president of the ACTU. Ged is an advocate for social justice, workers’ rights and universal healthcare.

Adj Prof Shelley Nowlan

National Rural & Remote Nursing Generalist Framework

Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner and Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer for Queensland Health, Shelley Nowlan will be discussing the National Rural & Remote Nursing Generalist Framework and its applications for employees, employers, and educators.

Prof Eddy Strivens

Successful ageing in rural and remote Australia

Prof Eddy Strivens is a Geriatrician and Clinical Director for Older Persons, Subacute and Rehabilitation in Cairns, Far North Queensland, a Professor with James Cook University School of Medicine and a former President of the Australia and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine.

Lesley Salem

Improving health of those with chronic disease in rural and remote Australian communities

A descendant of the Wonnarua Nation in New South Wales, Lesley Salem is currently working in private practice as a generalist and chronic disease Nurse Practitioner. Her nursing is dedicated to improving the health of those with chronic disease in rural and remote Australian communities.

J’Belle Foster

Tuberculosis management in the Torres Strait

J’Belle Foster is a Nurse and PhD Scholar with a passion for translational research. In 2014, she moved to the Torres Strait to work on a Federally funded cross-border Torres Strait / Papua New Guinea (PNG) TB project and subsequently established the Torres and Cape TB Control Unit. She will discuss making research-led changes to local policy to improve patient outcomes, diagnostics, collaboration, and disease management.

Alison Weatherstone

Rural and remote midwifery care

Chief Midwife at the Australian College of Midwives, Alison has lived experience across WA, Victoria, Queensland and Kenya. She is drawn to rural and remote midwifery and has a keen interest in access to safe woman- and family-centred maternity care, midwifery leadership, breech birth, and global maternal health. Alison has played key roles in the implementation, review and sustainability of Midwifery Group Practices across Far North Queensland.

Michelle Taylor

Leadership, rural and remote retention – new ways to self care

Michelle Taylor is a healthcare insider – a former critical-care nurse turned psychologist and leadership coach. With clinical experience in intensive care, Michelle has also worked in remote communities where healthcare pressures are intense. As a corporate trainer, Michelle has run workshops at all levels of government, and has helped clinical team leaders to get the best performance from themselves and their teams.

Featured abstract presentations

  • Growing our own – Developing leaders in a remote hospital
    John Wright
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) model of care in action
    Natasha Hegarty
  • Developing a nursing workforce in Tuvalu
    Julie Kirk
  • Tools to help you support Dementia education and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
    Diane Cadet James
  • InReach Kids: qualitative eval. of an integrative health service project between an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander primary health care organisation & a tertiary hospital service
    Ray Mahoney
  • The development of guidance for nurses and midwives working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners
    Saz Newbery
  • Sepsis management best practice in remote settings; a case for sepsis kits and cake tins
    Rebecca Schultz
  • Improving access to allergy care
    Heather Roberts
  • Training remote practitioners in handheld single view echocardiography
    Dr Alice Mitchell

Ruby Gala Dinner

Formally concluding our 2023 Conference is our 40th Anniversary Gala evening on Thursday 12 October, hosted in the Trinity Room at the Cairns Convention Centre. The conference dinner is always a great opportunity to ‘let your hair down’ and enjoy the company of your colleagues before heading back home. This year is extra-special, as we celebrate 40 years of uniting as a workforce.

There will be mingling, drinks, and photos on the red carpet, followed by CRANAplus awards and acknowledgements before we settle into a three-course meal and socialising. Live music from Tony George Entertainment will round out the evening, with dancing and non-dancing options (including a photo booth) to interact.

Rubies are the traditional symbol for a 40-year anniversary, so this year’s event has a voluntary ‘Ruby’ theme. Embrace the theme by wearing red clothing or accessories, or even ruby sparkles if you’re feeling fancy!

Pre and post-con­fer­ence opportunities

This year del­e­gates can make the most of their trip to Far North Queens­land by opt­ing to par­tic­i­pate in a range of option­al pre- and post-con­fer­ence learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and events. The events below are free for del­e­gates to attend, but spaces are lim­it­ed and book­ings are essential.

Mes­sage Stick Gathering

10 Octo­ber
Join the inau­gur­al Mes­sage Stick Gath­er­ing led by CRANAplus’ Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of First Peo­ples’ Strate­gies Dal­las McK­e­own. Dal­las will guide par­tic­i­pants to craft a mes­sage on the mean­ing of Cul­tur­al Safe­ty from their per­spec­tive. This mes­sage will sub­se­quent­ly be pre­sent­ed dur­ing the main pro­gram. Indige­nous and Non-Indige­nous del­e­gates are welcome.

Well­be­ing Workshops

10 Octo­ber
Par­take in a com­pli­men­ta­ry Well­be­ing Reset and/​or Med­i­ta­tion for Resilience led by mem­bers of CRANAplus’ Well­be­ing team. The Well­be­ing Reset pro­vides par­tic­i­pants with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to check in with them­selves and con­sid­er steps to pro­mote their well­be­ing. The Med­i­ta­tion for Resilience will demon­strate a pow­er­ful tool for main­tain­ing well­be­ing as a rur­al and remote health worker.

Respond­ing to Sex­u­al Vio­lence Training 

13 Octo­ber
CRANAplus Mem­bers tell us they would ben­e­fit from train­ing in recog­nis­ing and respond­ing to sex­u­al assault. To help meet this need we have invit­ed the Monash Uni­ver­si­ty Depart­ment of Foren­sic Med­i­cine (DFM) to deliv­er a ful­ly-fund­ed train­ing ses­sion on this top­ic, specif­i­cal­ly their Sex­u­al Vio­lence: Respond­ing to Adult Dis­clo­sure’ one-day inten­sive work­shop. This work­shop will be held at The Pull­man, Cairns. Del­e­gates can reg­is­ter at: dfm​cours​es​.jobready​plus​.com/​a​p​p​l​y​_​t​o​_​c​o​u​r​s​e​s​/​c​r​a​n​aplus

Wellbeing Lounge


The CRANAplus Mental Health & Wellbeing team will have the Wellbeing Lounge set up again at the 40th CRANAplus Conference. The Wellbeing Lounge is in a room adjacent to the exhibition space, and offers delegates a chance to take a break and recharge.

This year, the Wellbeing Lounge features a range of activities. Delegates can:

  • Experience a head and neck massage
  • Recharge phones and devices
  • Sample mindfulness activities
  • Browse or add to our gratitude wall
  • Learn more about CRANAplus' Wellbeing workshops, resources and the Bush Support Line
  • Connect, collaborate and share wellbeing strategies with others
  • Meet members from CRANAplus' Mental Health and Wellbeing team
  • Take home prizes and giveaways

Our spon­sors

CRANAplus thanks its spon­sors for their sup­port of the 40th CRANAplus Con­fer­ence, includ­ing our Major Part­ners, Flinders Uni­ver­si­ty Rur­al and Remote Health SA and NT and James Cook Uni­ver­si­ty. There’s still time to come on board as an exhibitor or spon­sor and show your sup­port for the remote health work­force. Please vis­it the spon­sor­ship & exhi­bi­tion page of the con­fer­ence web­site for more information.

To reg­is­ter to attend or learn more, head to crana​con​fer​ence​.com