Parkes, Merle Elicia, (AM) (1929-)

Also known as
Parkes, Merle Elicia, (AM) (1927-)
Parkes, Merle Elicia (1929-)
Field of activity
Nurse; Nurse educator
NLA Persistent Identifier
https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-1473897

Biographies

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.

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.

  • Education - General nurse training at the Ryde District Hospital, Sydney
  • Education - Midwifery training at the Women's Hospital in Crown Street Sydney
  • Education - Infant Welfare Certificate completed at the Royal Society for the Welfare of Mothers and Babies
  • 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
  • Career position - Spent a short period teaching with one PTS group and one year as second sister-in-charge of the Central Sterilising Department
  • 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
  • Career position - Member of the Australian Nursing Federation
  • 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
  • Education - Florence Nightingale Memorial Committee Scholarship to study in England at the Royal College of Nursing, London
  • Education - Completed the Sister Tutor Diploma at University of London (awarded August 1958)
  • Award - Florence Nightingale International Foundation travel grant received for study tour in Scandinavia
  • 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
  • Career position - Surgical Instructor at the Atkinson School of Nursing at Western Hospital, Toronto in Canada - one year appointment to August 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
  • Award - Rockefeller grant received for study tour in the USA
  • Career position - Fellow of the New South Wales College of Nursing (now the College of Nursing)
  • Career position - Tutor in Charge of the School of Nursing at St George's Hospital in Kogorah, New South Wales
  • Career position - Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia
  • Career position - Principal Nurse Educator School of Nursing at the Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia
  • Career position - Member of the Education Committee for the Nurses Registration Board of Western Australia
  • Career position - Member of the working committee appointed by the nurse registration board of Western Australia to revise curricula in Western Australia
  • Career position - Member of the Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW)
  • Career position - Principal of the Western Australian Branch of College of Nursing, Australia
  • Career position - Member of the Australian College of Education (MACE)
  • Career position - Councillor of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia
  • 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
  • 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
  • Career position - Inaugural Head of the Department of Nursing within the School of Health Sciences at Western Australian Institute of Technology
  • 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
  • Research - Carried out a study of staffing patterns used in Australian hospitals for the provision of nursing care
  • Career position - Member of the Council of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation, Western Australia branch
  • 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
  • Career position - Appointed to the panel of overseas advisors for the original editorial board for the , published by Blackwell Scientific Publications, UK
  • Career position - Advisor to the National Steering Committee established to set targets for implementing the goals in nursing education policy statements
  • Career position - Member of the Censors Board at the Royal College of Nursing, Australia
  • 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
  • Career position - President of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia
  • Research - Visiting Research Fellow at Nursing Education Research Unit at Chelsea College, University of London
  • Award - Fellowship of the Australian College of Education (FACE) awarded in recognition of an outstanding contribution to an area of specialised education
  • Career position - Member of the international editorial board for the International , published by Pergamon Press Ltd., UK.
  • Research - An analysis of the work of qualified midwives in Western Australia
  • Award - Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of a significant contribution to nursing education
  • Career position - Head of the School of Nursing at the Tasmanian Institute of Technology
  • Career position - Head of the School of Nursing Studies at the Tasmania State Institute of Technology, later University of Tasmania
  • Career position - Member of the editorial board for the published by Royal Australian Nursing Federation (now Australian Nursing Federation) in Melbourne
  • Career position - Member of the Editorial Committee of the College of Nursing, Australia (now Royal College of Nursing, Australia)
  • 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
  • Career position - Member of the Nurses' Board of Tasmania
  • 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
  • Career position - National President of the Florence Nightingale Committee of Australia
  • 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
  • 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
  • Career position - Ministerial appointment to the Launceston District Health Forum established to assess consumer input to health service delivery and needs
  • Career position - Consultant to the Royal College of Nursing, Australia to review administrative structures and to improve services to members
  • 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
  • Award - Distinguished Life Fellow Award Royal College of Nursing, Australia.

View the full record at Encyclopedia of Australian Science

Resources for Merle Elicia Parkes

Selected resources (4)

Encyclopedia of Australian Science

  1. Parkes, Merle Elicia
    Published: The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre
    Series: Encyclopedia of Australian Science
  2. We Congratulate Merle Parkes AM - Jean Arnot Recognition
    Published: Australian Federation of Graduate Women
    Series: Australian Federation of Graduate Women - New South Wales
  3. Where are the Women in Australian Science?
    McCarthy, Gavan; Morgan, Helen; Smith, Ailie; van den Bosch, Alan
    Published: Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, 2003
  4. A Professional Pilgrimage: a History of the Florence Nightingale Committee of Australia, 1946-1993
    Parkes, Merle E.
    Published: NSW College of Nursing, Burwood, 2002

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