In 2005, when AAON was established, the founding board decided to adopt a new approach to nurse training education and research, the “Kaizen Philosophy”. This philosophy originates from Japan and is the basis of the “Japanese economic miracle” since 1945. Kaizen strives on the ideals of mutual respect, equality, fairness, transparency, and accountability. It assumes all are equal stakeholders when it comes to the care of others.

The Kaizen Philosophy is about continuous incremental improvements in everything we do. This is driven by all within the organisation, regardless of who they are, their background, and what they do. There is no “them and us” culture between academics and students. The Australian Academy of Nursing has applied Kaizen to engage students to become stakeholders in developing the quality of their experience during their study, not after they have completed their qualification. The AAON culture encourages small continuous changes on a regular basis and rejects the idea that we should respond solely to “problems”. On the contrary, AAON believes there are only options to situations, and it is the duty of all to act towards finding the path for a desired outcome. We reject excuses, seek solutions, and constantly ask “why?”


Nearby Church Street Fountains and Centenary Memorial


Together with our partners, including the Independent Private Hospitals of Australia, AAON presents its students with a unique learning experience and career opportunities based on this philosophy. Importantly, there are no stupid questions as all members of AAON are equal and have something to contribute. This action-based culture means that every team and individual is developing and implementing their own solutions every day.
It means that no one person or team will have all the answers. Improvement is the goal and responsibility of every member of AAON in every activity. It’s the small but continual efforts of every member of AAON, teacher or student, that lead to changes for the better in everything we do. The standards we set for our researchers, lecturers, and students have been distilled from our peers, the healthcare sector, and are also driven by the members of the Academy.

Rank and titles are not relevant when it comes to contributing to and driving continuous improvement. The philosophy is less about “what could we have done” and more about “what was done”.  It is much more about how we affect the present. That is why all our teaching material is designed to engage the student to bring changes to everything we do. This makes AAON a unique research and education organisation.


Kaizen is the core value, the soul of the Academy. It is only when every person is equal and able to contribute to improvement that a fair, ethical, caring, and professional environment can be created. In this environment, we provide the community with the most outstanding employees in the healthcare sector.

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Leadership Starts Here With the Care of Others