Historical information

The RDNS Sisters are named in the photograph, L-R - Sister Megan Margaret Day who works in the Domiciliary Infant Maternal Care (DIMC) section of RDNS. The next Sister's name is unknown, and on the right is Sister Ruth Eileen McKeon who is a Nurse Educator with RDNS. The photograph is taken in the Education Department of Royal District Nursing Service, and the two Sisters are receiving instruction on the function of the organs of the human body from Sister McKeon. The Sisters are wearing the RDNS summer uniform of a white short sleeve blouse under a royal blue V neck tunic style frock.


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 staff attended several hospitals to observe and learn special care needed to some clients, 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

On the left of this black and white photograph is Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), Sister Megan Day, who has curled short dark hair and is wearing glasses. She is standing side-on facing to the right of the photograph. The index finger of her right hand is pointing to an area on the internal frontal view of a Human Torso Model which is sitting on a table to her right. Between her and the model is another Sister who has her long dark hair drawn back. She is looking at the internal organs in the Model. To the right of the Model is Sister Ruth McKeon, who has her long light colour hair drawn back into a French Twist. She is standing side-on facing to the left of the photograph, and is smiling as she holds one of the organs taken from the Model. When looking at the photograph, the left side of the Model's face is seen, and on the right side the Internal organs of the face are seen. The internal organs of the neck and torso of the Model are seen. A blackboard with writings about the function of 'The Heart' is In the background. The Sisters are all wearing their RDNS uniforms of a short sleeve white blouse under a V neck tunic style dress which has the RDNS logo on its upper left.

Inscriptions & markings

Barry Sutton LY 66