Historical information

This photograph is taken in the Education Department at Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS). Principal Nurse Educator, Sister Pat (Paddy) Rowley is instructing the group in the Anatomy of the Brain. Jan Turski is a Trained nurse (Sister) working in the Domiciliary Infant and Maternal Care (DIMC) section of RDNS. Pat Walker is a Sister from Geelong, Lynne Lambert is a Sister from Qld, Paula McBreen is a Sister from St. Vincent's Hospital and Liz Seymour-Smith is a Sister from Qld. Sister Pat (Paddy) Rowley is wearing the RDNS winter uniform of a blue/grey skivvie under a blue/grey V neck tunic style frock made out of herringbone winter material.


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. Sisters 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, standing L-R, a side-on view of Jan Turski, who has short, straight light hair and is wearing a dark cardigan and white and black hound's-tooth check skirt; she is facing right. Next is Pat Walker, who has short dark hair and is wearing a grey jumper over a check skirt. Then, Lynne Lambert, who has short wavy dark hair, and is wearing a white jumper, with a pendant hanging down it, over grey slacks. She is holding half of an Anatomical brain in her right hand. Next is Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) Principal Nurse Educator, Pat (Paddy) Rowley, who is looking towards the left of the photograph at the Anatomical brain held by Lynne Lambert. She is wearing glasses, has short dark hair and is wearing a light grey skivvie under a darker V neck tunic style frock. She is holding an open book in her hands. Next is Paula McBreen, who has shoulder length dark hair and is wearing a dark cardigan over a grey skivvie, with a pendant hanging down it, and a check skirt. She is smiling and looking to her right toward the others. On the far right, side-on and facing the others on the left of the photograph, is Liz Seymour-Smith who has shoulder length dark hair and is wearing a dark grey skivvie, and white, with dark check, slacks. In front of the group is a round dark wooden top table, which has a book and open folder on it, as well as a round white plastic base with the other half of the anatomical brain sitting in it.

Inscriptions & markings

Barry Sutton MB 30