About Shelley

Shelley Nowlan is the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer for Queensland Health. She has been in health care for over 30 years.

Shelley Nowlan

One night, awoken from sleep, a knock on the door, voices of strangers informed my Mum and Dad of the loss of their son from a tragic road accident.  
The loss of my brother was realised, and the world changed for me.  I was a teenager at the time and this life-changing event called on me to become a nurse. Essentially, I wanted to save everyone’s brother.  
Shortly after this event, I had the opportunity to participate in my high school work experience program at a local country hospital. 
The experience reconfirmed my decision to follow a path in nursing.   
As soon as I was registered as a nurse, I fast-tracked to emergency nursing, specialising in trauma nursing undertaking road and air retrieval.  
While I may not have saved all the brothers of the world, as an emergency nurse I was with them at a time most needed and they were not alone.  
As a nurse you are a voice to calm, a voice of support, a voice to advocate, a hand delivering compassionate lifesaving care. 
There is not a human in the world who has not been touched by a nurse or midwife at some point in their life.  
As a nurse you touch many lives with compassion, unconditionally and without bias.
Nursing has provided me with many opportunities – working in Peri-operative services, mentoring and coaching peers, working in rural and remote, to commissioning clinical services and hospitals.  
I know I am currently in the right place in my career as Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer. Working relentlessly with my peers and OCNMO staff we have made inroads, laying down the foundations to influence future agendas for the profession of nursing and midwifery.  
The outcomes of this work are palpable and evident through the standard of care delivered to Queenslanders by Queensland nurses and midwives. 
I have learnt that nursing leadership is about being passionate and courageous to care, advocate and lead strategic health service planning and policy agendas that enhance service delivery with the consumer experience at the centre and care delivered at every corner of the community.  
Leaving you with some advice…
If a door opens in your career, step through it. Be open to possibilities. Gather knowledge and experience wherever you can. Have a voice.  
I can sincerely say that the opportunities I embraced early in my career have led me to a privileged and empowered position to form and implement strategic health policy, health reform, lead innovation and embed program evaluation that supports the health workforce and delivers nurse and midwifery care for our communities.

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