Mary Harney TD, Minister for Health & Children, noted the high standard of professional education received by nursing students in Ireland and remarked on the excellent 3,910-m² nurse education building funded by her Department at Waterford Institute of Technology, Minister Harney said: “Nursing and midwifery education in Ireland has gone through a radical change process, being transformed from an apprentice model to a diploma model and now to a degree programme.”
Waterford should be able to push for more business in the medicare industry with this facility in the area.
The opening of Whitfield Clinic has also been a positive, creating extra hospital employment.
Now that we have the new motorway the potential of Waterford expanding more in health care provision must rise and having this nursing facility needs to be promoted more by our social partners to attract more employment to the area.
At the opening we met staff from Clonmel and Kilkenny, as well as Tramore who induct new Nurses where they do on the job training and theory.
Raising Waterford’s image in heatlh care should be a higher priority as it is an industry of the future.
We have Genzyme, Teva, Bausch and Lomb as well as Arko Pharma as well as other firms in Dungarvan, like Glaxo, Abbott in Clonmel, VHI in Kilkenny.
They say more attracts more so some higher profile raising may be needed.
“Nurse education for the southeast region has been centralised at Waterford Institute of Technology since 2002 with a Centre for Nursing Studies initially established here in 1996 in partnership with the then South Eastern Health Board to coordinate the development of nursing programmes. This model rightly puts nurse education on a similar standing to that of other health professionals as nurses work in a highly-skilled discipline.”
Ms Harney was at the nurse education building for a ceremony to dedicate the facility to the memory of Mary (Molly) O’Connell Bianconi, a war-time volunteer nurse referred to as ‘Ireland’s Florence Nightingale’ who was a descendant of historic figures Daniel O’Connell and Charles Bianconi.
Doctoral research by Alice McDermott, a lecturer at Waterford Institute of Technology, has found that having been educated at Laurel Hill Convent in Limerick and finishing schools in Belgium and France, Molly joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment in 1915 at the age of 19 and – after a training period in Yorkshire – entered the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry with whom she served in Amiens and St Omer during the First World War. Mentioned in despatches for bravery in the field, she received a Military Medal (MM) from King George V for her conspicuous devotion to duty during a hostile air raid when she “showed great bravery and coolness”.
Molly rejoined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry at the outbreak of the Second World War and, subsequently, became a Junior Commander in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She later co-wrote a biographer of her great grandfather, Bianconi: King of the Irish Roads, which was published in 1962.
The facility which cost more than €20m to develop and equip is located at the city end of the Institute’s main campus near Leabharlann Luke Wadding and the Walton Information and Communications Technology (ICT) building. The landmark building incorporates a suite of practice nursing laboratories along with more conventional lecture theatres and offices.
* The Department of Nursing at Waterford Institute of Technology offers BSc (Hons) degree programmes in general, psychiatric and intellectual disability nursing along with a part-time BSc (Hons) in Nursing Studies and a range of postgraduate programmes. Further information is available at