Historical information

Sr. Pat (Paddy) Rowley is the Principal Nurse Educator at RDNS and is giving a lecture to RDNS Sisters in the Education Department at 452 St. Kilda Rd, Melbourne. She is wearing the RDNS summer uniform of a white short sleeve blouse under a royal blue V neck tunic style frock with the RDNS insignia on the upper left.


Education was an integral part of Melbourne District Nursing Society (MDNS), from its inception in 1885, later, in 1966, called Royal District Nursing Service, (RDNS). From 1885, only Trained Nurses (Nurses), through the Hospital training system, were employed by the Society, and on visits to patients they taught the necessity of hygiene and cleanliness, as well as the need for a good diet, to bring about good health. Doctor’s lectures were later given at the MDNS home to instruct patients and their families on prevention of disease. Education to patients continued throughout the years regarding health care and the use of equipment in the home. In 1961, Education programs commenced at MDNS with Trained nurses (Sisters) receiving In-service education. Sr. Pat (Paddy) Rowley was a leader in In-service Education and established the RDNS Department of Community Nursing Education in 1962. Staff could also apply for scholarships to further their education outside of RDNS. Many of their senior Sisters received Postgraduate diplomas from the College of Nursing in Community Health Nursing, Education, and Administration, and several travelled overseas visiting nursing organizations viewing their public health and District nursing systems. At RDNS many programs were run, including: a Post Basic Course, Cardiac Rehabilitation Nursing, Haematology/Oncology Nursing, Palliative Care program, Diabetic Stabilization Program, Leg Ulcer Management Program, Wound Care Specialist Program, HIV/AIDS Nursing Care, Cystic Fibrosis Home Support, Veterans Home Care Program, Breast Cancer Support Program, Continence Management Program, Stomal Therapy Program, In-Home Lactation Support Program and the Homeless Persons Program. RDNS Sisters attended several hospitals to observe and learn special care needed to some patients, e.g. to the Austin Hospital to learn the care required for paraplegic and quadriplegic patients at home, and to Mount Royal Hospital to observe the care of patients in the Rehabilitation ward. A Community Nursing Education Program was extended to student nurses from hospitals and to other nursing organizations. These Education programs kept the RDNS Sisters abreast of new techniques, such as changes in technology for e.g. new testing methods in detecting glucose levels in Diabetic patients. Sr. Nan Deakin obtained a Post Basic Certificate in Psychiatric Nursing and included this area in her Education lectures. Sr. Daphne Geldard specialized in the area of Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. These Sisters visited patients in District areas with the regular RDNS Sister when required. Every member of staff, both professional and non professional staff, received regular education in the Education Department. In 1980, a Home Health Aide pilot study, funded by the Federal Government, the Brotherhood of St. Laurence and RDNS, with the program written and taught by Sr. Rowley, was evaluated as successful, and Home Health Aides were employed and worked in RDNS Centres under the supervision of the RDNS Sisters.

Physical description

This black and white photograph shows Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) Sister Pat (Paddy) Rowley and seventeen (some partly hidden), Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) Sisters. The bulk of the photograph shows the front view of three rows of RDNS Sisters sitting at tables which have books and sheets of paper on them. The Sisters are wearing a variety of day clothes. In the right foreground of the Photograph is a table containing papers, and standing to its right, facing the group, is the back view of Sr. Rowley, who has short dark hair and glasses. She has her left hand on a sheet of paper on the table. She is wearing her RDNS uniform of a white short sleeve blouse under a dark tunic style frock. In the rear of the photograph a brick fireplace can be seen with some books and a vase of flowers on the mantelpiece. On the right is a long curtain, some lockers and an open wooden door with glass panel. Some of the Sisters named are:- Ann Greenwood, Judy Peter, Ethel Fullarton, Barbara Lovell, Shirley Lewis, Jane Ball..

Inscriptions & markings

Barry Sutton Stamp. Quote LY 68