James Cook University is proud to celebrate 25 years of Nursing graduates serving northern Queensland communities.
Head of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition at JCU, Professor Melanie Birks said the silver jubilee is about celebrating the achievements of Nursing graduates and the important role they play in northern Queensland and beyond.
“JCU has graduated many nurses and midwives who have gone on to make a difference to the communities we serve,” said Professor Birks. “We are exceptionally proud of our staff, students and graduates and value our excellent relationships with industry partners. Marking our 25 years of producing a major component of the healthcare workforce in this region formalises this pride in our achievements.”
To mark the occasion, the University is naming a lecture theatre at the Townsville campus after the late Emeritus Professor Barbara Hayes OAM. Professor Hayes was the Foundation Head of the Department of Nursing Sciences and Foundation Professor of Nursing Sciences, and her contribution helped shape the cultural foundations of what is today the College of Healthcare Sciences.
A member of the first cohort and current JCU senior lecturer Dr Narelle Biedermann completed her PhD under the supervision of Professor Hayes. She said Professor Hayes is remembered for strengthening and developing the academic side of nursing and midwifery in Australia, and her teaching continues to resonate with current students at JCU.
“We were always told we could make a real difference, and that the learning and care and research we were carrying out was important work,” said Dr Biedermann. “That message is still the same today although the buildings and the learning methods have changed.”
JCU’s Department of Nursing was the University’s first undergraduate health science department and the first university school of nursing in the Tropics in Australia. It opened in 1990 and there were 70 in the first graduating class of 1993, who are known as the Auroras.