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Biographical entry Durdin, Dorothy Joan (1922 - )

AM, FRCNA, DUniv

Born
16 May 1922
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Occupation
Nurse, Educator and Historian

Summary

Joan Durdin, author of They Became Nurses: A History of Nursing in South Australia, 1836-1980 (1991) and Eleven Thousand Nurses: A History of Nursing Education at the Royal Adelaide Hospital 1889-1993 (1999) is a nursing historian and as a nurse educator has contributed much to the advancement of nursing through the development of advanced education in the higher education sector. In addition to her ten year's teaching at Royal Adelaide Hospital she spent six years as a nurse educator in Papua New Guinea. She conducted extensive oral history interviews for the Royal Adelaide Hospital Heritage and History Committee, 1991-1998. Durdin is commemorated by the Joan Durdin Oration, an annual event initiated and sponsored by the Department of Clinical Nursing at the University of Adelaide.

Details

Joan Durdin AM studied general nursing at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (completed 1945), midwifery at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Melbourne (completed 1947) and infant welfare at Torrens House Adelaide (completed 1949). In 1949 she was awarded a Florence Nightingale Scholarship to study at the Royal College of Nursing London and later returned to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where she was Senior Sister Tutor from 1955 until 1964.

In 1974 she was appointed Lecturer in the Nursing Department, Sturt College of Advanced Education where she shared responsibility for the development of the curriculum for the basic program and for clinical placements of students. She was Head of the Department from 1979-1981 and when she retired in 1983 was Head of the School of Health Professions at the South Australian College of Advanced Education Sturt Campus. The importance of her work was recognised when she was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1985.

Durdin was also active in the work of the College of Nursing Australia, now the Royal College of Nursing Australia (RCNA) which awarded her an Honorary Fellowship in 1984. She was President of the South Australian Branch of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation ( now the Australian Nursing Federation) between 1976 and 1980 and a member of the Board of Management of Child and Adolescent and Family Health Service for three years including Chair of the Board in 1983.

Following her retirement Joan Durdin completed an Honours degree in History at the University of Adelaide. She then became involved in RCNA's National History Project, developed an oral history handbook and coordinated the National Oral History Program. She convened a sub-committee to compile the South Australian Chapter's archives, published a history of nursing in South Australia and wrote a number of biographies.

Durdin has been an architect of the transformation of nursing training in South Australia from the hospital to the tertiary education sector. She has been a leader nationally and internationally in the struggle to improve the professional status of nursing for more than 40 years and is renowned for her personal attributes of tact, diplomacy, tenacity of purpose, insight and calmness in adversity.

This text comprised the citation on the occasion of Joan Durdin being awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Flinders University of South Australia in 1994, and is used with permission.

Memberships

Member, Royal Australian Nursing Federation, 1946-1984; Fellow, College of Nursing, Australia, 1953-1984; Member, Education committee, College of Nursing, Australia, 1961-1965; Chairman, Education committee, College of Nursing, Australia, 1962-1964; Member, Florence Nightingale Committee (SA Branch), 1953-1965; Secretary, Florence Nightingale Committee (SA Branch), 1954-1964; Member, Council of Royal Australian Nursing, Federation (SA Branch), 1953-1965; Vice-President, Royal Australian Nursing Federation (SA Branch), 1975-1976; President, Royal Australian Nursing Federation (SA Branch), 1977-1981; Member, Federal Council, Royal Australian Nursing Federation, 1977-1981; Examiner, Nurses' Board of South Australia, 1955-1964, 1972-1982; Convenor, Archives sub-committee, Royal College of Nursing, Australia, SA Chapter, 1989-1997; Member, Management Committee of the National Nursing Archival Project, Royal College of Nursing, Australia, 1990-1993; Convenor, Oral History Working Party, National Nursing Archival Project, Royal College of Nursing, Australia, 1990-1993; Secretary, Oral History Association of Australia, (SA Branch), 1983-1997; President, Oral History Association of Australia (SA Branch), 1997-1999; Honorary member, Oral History Association of Australia, 1999; Member, Historical Society of South Australia, 1985- ; Member, Australian Society of the History of Medicine, 1990- ;

Events

1945
Infectious Diseases Nursing Certificate completed at Northfield
1945
General Nursing Certificate completed at the Royal Adelaide Hospital
1947
Midwifery Certificate completed at the Queen Victoria Hospital, Melbourne
1950 - 1951
Florence Nightingale Scholarship for overseas study
1951
Tutor sister diploma completed at the Royal College of Nursing (UK) / London University
1965
Diploma of Arts and Education completed at the University of Adelaide
1984
Honorary Fellow of the College of Nursing, Australia
1984
Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA (Hons)) completed at the University of Adelaide
1985
Member of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to nursing education
1994
Honorary Doctorate received from Flinders University of South Australia

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Books

  • Durdin, Joan, They Became Nurses: a History of Nursing in South Australia, 1836-1980, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1991. Details

Book Sections

Conference Papers

  • Durdin, Joan, 'Doctors and the Training of Nurses in South Australia, 1880-1920', in Harold Attwood and Geoffrey Kenny (eds), Reflections on Medical History and Health in Australia. Third National Conference on Medical History and Health in Australia, University of Melbourne, Medical History Unit, Melbourne, 1986, pp. 93-100. Details
  • Durdin, Joan, 'Doctors and the training of nurses in South Australia 1880-1920', in Attwood, Harold and Kenny, Geoffrey (eds), Reflections on Medical History and Health in Australia: Third National Conference on Medical History and Health in Australia, 4 September 1986, Medical History Unit, University of Melbourne and Medical History Society, AMA (Victorian Branch), Melbourne, 1987. Details
  • Durdin, Joan, 'Discovering Australian Nursing', in Papers of the First National [Nursing] History Conference: Australian Nursing - The Story, Royal College of Nursing, Melbourne, 1993. Details

Journal Articles

  • Durdin, Joan, 'The Place of Oral History in Nursing History', Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 2, no. 1, 1984, pp. 4-8. Details
  • Durdin, Joan, 'Four Nursing Pioneers in Colonial South Australia', History of Nursing Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 1, Royal College of Nursing, London, 1987. Details
  • Durdin, Joan, 'Spoken to Written Word: Writing a History of Nursing in South Australia', Oral History Association of Australia Journal, no. 13, 1991. Details
  • Durdin, Joan, 'Nursing in the Outposts: Resources for a Historian of Nursing', History and Health: Journal of the Australian Society of the History of Medicine, 1995. Details

Theses

  • Durdin, Joan, 'Learning to be a Nurse: Early Steps in the Professionalisation of Nursing in South Australia', BAHons thesis, University of Adelaide, 1984. Details

Online Resources

Digital resources

Title
Joan Durdin
Type
Image

Details

Helen Morgan