Nursing Council chair Catherine Byrne yesterday announced that Nursing Council chief executive Carolyn Reed would retire at the end of the year after a decade in the role as the Council’s registrar and chief executive.

Byrne joined other nursing leaders in paying tribute to her work saying she had been a “capable, visionary leader” for the organisation and thanked her for her years of service.

Reed first stepped into the role as acting chief executive in late 2008 and was appointed to the role in 2009.  During her time she oversaw some major changes for New Zealand nursing including changes to the registered nurse, nurse practitioner and enrolled nurse scopes of practice and the introduction of registered nurse prescribing.

In announcing her retirement Reed said it had been an incredible privilege to work with the Council, nurses and people from across the country and internationally. “There hasn’t been a day that I didn’t want to come to work,” she said. She said she had been part of an amazing team and they had achieved success they all could be proud of.

Professor Jenny Carryer, executive director of the College of Nurses said Carolyn Reed has been an outstanding CEO for the Nursing Council.

“She has balanced the rigour and attention to detail needed to maintain public safety with a wonderfully warm  and humane approach to everything she does,” said Carryer. “Under her leadership the Council has supported significant developments in the scope of registered nurse practice and the ongoing development of the Nurse Practitioner role. She is visionary and focused in the role and will be very sadly missed and very hard to replace.”

The Ministry of Health’s Office of the Chief Nursing Officer congratulated Carolyn Reed on her retirement and acknowledged the outstanding contribution she had made to nursing throughout her career.

Dr Jill Clendon said as acting Chief Nursing Officer she had personally enjoyed working with Carolyn and would miss her dedication and contribution to nursing and the sheer passion she has for the sector. She said Reed had worked tirelessly to strengthen the nursing profession in areas like nurse prescribing and enhancing the scope of practice for nurse practitioners which enabled nursing to contribute more holistically to the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

“Carolyn leaves the Nursing Council in as strong a position as ever to advocate for the safety and competency of the workforce.

Byrne said Reed had worked with the profession to ensure right touch regulation and is widely respected for her nursing leadership in the sector. “She has been instrumental in the forging of national and international links between regulatory authorities. Byrne said Reed had also worked hard to transform the organisation’s operations to improve efficiency.

Former Ministry of Health chief nurse and now Plunket chief nurse Dr Jane O’Malley said Carolyn Reed had probably been the finest registrar the country had ever had.

“She’s always been at the forefront of regulatory change for nursing – not just here in New Zealand or Australasia but internationally,” said O’Malley. She said during Reed’s time she had overseen tremendous changes in nursing scope of practices, prescribing, the new Code of Conduct and much more. “She’s been marvellous, has a great way with people and is a smart woman,” said O’Malley.

The Council has begun recruitment for a new Chief Executive/Registrar and expects to recruit a suitable candidate in due course.

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