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Biographical entry Parkes, Merle Elicia (1929 - )

AM

Born
1929
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation
Nurse and Nurse educator

Summary

Merle Parkes held many clinical roles, but then devoted her career to nurse education. She had extensive experience in clinical nursing, teaching and administration of schools of nursing within the hospital and higher education systems. Parkes was involved in the development of the tertiary-based training of nurses in Australia.

Details

After completing her basic nursing education, Merle Parkes gained her midwifery and infant welfare qualifications. She spent five years in various clinical roles before turning her career towards education, with her appointment as principal nurse educator at the Royal Perth Hospital in 1962. From this point onwards Miss Parkes' career was devoted to nurse education. She was an innovative leader and introduced study days for students to attend lectures and clinical nurse educators to assist students in the practical work on the wards. She was instrumental in the appointment of a clinical psychologist to support students. These initiatives were novel at the time and demonstrate Miss Parkes' commitment to students. In response to her assessment of need, two new components to the teaching program were developed. One, of twenty hours, focused on personal and professional development. The other was a community health nursing component. She was involved in re-writing the curriculum and introduced it at Royal Perth Hospital in 1968.

A strong advocate for tertiary based nurse education, Miss Parkes made a significant contribution over a twenty year period in seeking and finally achieving the changes that took place in the educational preparation of nurses. These were introduced, Australia wide, in the 1990s.

She held senior and leadership positions during times of great upheaval and change in education. Miss Parkes had had extensive experience in clinical nursing, teaching and administration of schools of nursing within the hospital and higher education systems. She was renowned for assisting those around her to keep perspective and balance. This, combined with her extensive experience in nursing educational matters and practicalities, made her one of the architects of the new, tertiary education system for nurses in Australia.

Events

1945 - 1949
Education - General nurse training at the Ryde District Hospital, Sydney
1949 - 1950
Education - Midwifery training at the Women's Hospital in Crown Street Sydney
1950
Education - Infant Welfare Certificate completed at the Royal Society for the Welfare of Mothers and Babies
1951 - 1953
Career position - Junior sister in the private wing with medical and surgical patients for three years. Sister in charge of medical ward for two years
1954 - 1956
Career position - Spent a short period teaching with one PTS group and one year as second sister-in-charge of the Central Sterilising Department
1954 - 1956
Career position - Employed at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney for two and a half years, gaining experience in several departments, including medical/surgical/orthopaedic and children's nursing
1954 - 1990
Career position - Member of the Australian Nursing Federation
1955
Award - Florence Nightingale Scholarship (National Award ) received to provide two years study at the Royal College of Nursing London and qualify for the Sister Tutors Diploma from the University of London
1956 - 1958
Education - Florence Nightingale Memorial Committee Scholarship to study in England at the Royal College of Nursing, London
1958
Education - Completed the Sister Tutor Diploma at University of London (awarded August 1958)
1958
Award - Florence Nightingale International Foundation travel grant received for study tour in Scandinavia
1958
Life event - Ten week study tour to study nursing education in Scandinavia, including content of curricula, methods of teaching and clinical experience in independent schools of nursing supported by the Florence Nightingale International Foundation
1958 - 1959
Career position - Surgical Instructor at the Atkinson School of Nursing at Western Hospital, Toronto in Canada - one year appointment to August 1959
1959
Career position - Rockefeller grant to undertake a study tour of nursing degree programs offered by selected schools of nursing in the USA. Specifically to study content, organisation and implementation of nursing degree programs. Sixteen schools were visited
1959
Award - Rockefeller grant received for study tour in the USA
1960 -
Career position - Fellow of the New South Wales College of Nursing (now the College of Nursing)
1960 - 1961
Career position - Tutor in Charge of the School of Nursing at St George's Hospital in Kogorah, New South Wales
1961 -
Career position - Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia
1962 - 1970
Career position - Principal Nurse Educator School of Nursing at the Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia
1962 - 1983
Career position - Member of the Education Committee for the Nurses Registration Board of Western Australia
1964 - 1967
Career position - Member of the working committee appointed by the nurse registration board of Western Australia to revise curricula in Western Australia
1970 -
Career position - Member of the Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW)
1970 - 1973
Career position - Principal of the Western Australian Branch of College of Nursing, Australia
1971 - 1983
Career position - Member of the Australian College of Education (MACE)
1973 - 1990
Career position - Councillor of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia
1974 - 1976
Career position - Member of a working party set up by the nurses board of Western Australia to investigate the future needs of nursing education in Western Australia
1974 - 1976
Career position - Member of a national working party consisting of representatives from national nursing organisations to develop a statement and strategies for action on the introduction of change in nursing education in Australia
1974 - 1983
Career position - Inaugural Head of the Department of Nursing within the School of Health Sciences at Western Australian Institute of Technology
1974? - 1983?
Career position - Study tour to four institutions offering nursing degree programs in the UK and Canada. To compare undergraduate nursing programs in the UK and North America with the program planned for introduction in Western Australia
1976 - 1978
Research - Carried out a study of staffing patterns used in Australian hospitals for the provision of nursing care
1976 - 1979
Career position - Member of the Council of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation, Western Australia branch
1977 - 1980
Career position - Contact person and State convenor of task force responsible for advising the National Steering Committee on priorities for implementing the Goals in Nursing Education
1977 - 1988
Career position - Appointed to the panel of overseas advisors for the original editorial board for the Journal of Advanced Nursing, published by Blackwell Scientific Publications, UK
1978 - 1984
Career position - Advisor to the National Steering Committee established to set targets for implementing the goals in nursing education policy statements
1978 - 1988
Career position - Member of the Censors Board at the Royal College of Nursing, Australia
1980
Career position - Consultant to the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education for a study to determine the availability of appropriate educational resources in the tertiary sector for the conduct of undergraduate educational programs
1980 - 1981
Career position - President of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia
1981
Research - Visiting Research Fellow at Nursing Education Research Unit at Chelsea College, University of London
1981
Award - Fellowship of the Australian College of Education (FACE) awarded in recognition of an outstanding contribution to an area of specialised education
1981 - 1993
Career position - Member of the international editorial board for the International Journal of Nursing Studies, published by Pergamon Press Ltd., UK.
1982
Research - An analysis of the work of qualified midwives in Western Australia
1982
Award - Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of a significant contribution to nursing education
1983
Career position - Head of the School of Nursing at the Tasmanian Institute of Technology
1983 - 1990
Career position - Head of the School of Nursing Studies at the Tasmania State Institute of Technology, later University of Tasmania
1983 - 1991
Career position - Member of the editorial board for the Journal of Advanced Nursing published by Royal Australian Nursing Federation (now Australian Nursing Federation) in Melbourne
1985 - 1988
Career position - Member of the Editorial Committee of the College of Nursing, Australia (now Royal College of Nursing, Australia)
1986
Career position - Seconded to the Department of Nursing at Massey University New Zealand for four weeks, to study resources used for teaching on behalf of the Committee
1988 - 1992
Career position - Member of the Nurses' Board of Tasmania
1989
Career position - Member of the Australian Education Council's working party on nurse education set up to provide advice to e ministers and the National Board of Employment and Education and Training on the length of courses and appropriate entry level
1989 - 1992
Career position - National President of the Florence Nightingale Committee of Australia
1990
Career position - Consultant to the Tasmanian State Institute of Technology to investigate nursing programs in North America leading to a Masters degree by research and to develop Stage 1 of a proposal for the introduction of a Masters degree in Health Science
1990 - 1991
Career position - Consultant to Victoria College (School of Nursing in Burwood, Victoria), to develop a proposal for a Bachelor of Nursing (degree) course incorporating a competency based model
1991
Career position - Ministerial appointment to the Launceston District Health Forum established to assess consumer input to health service delivery and needs
1992
Career position - Consultant to the Royal College of Nursing, Australia to review administrative structures and to improve services to members
1996
Career position - Consultant to University of Western Sydney (Nepean) Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, to review and evaluate course accreditation documents for Bachelor of Nursing degree program
1997
Award - Distinguished Life Fellow Award Royal College of Nursing, Australia.

Archival resources

New South Wales College of Nursing

  • Merle Elicia Parkes - Records; New South Wales College of Nursing. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Books

  • Parkes, Merle E., A Professional Pilgrimage: a History of the Florence Nightingale Committee of Australia, 1946-1993, NSW College of Nursing, Burwood, 2002, 172 pp. Details

Online Resources

Digital resources

Title
Merle Parkes
Type
Image

Details

Merle Parkes and Helen Hamilton for ANMHP