The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, TD, was in Waterford on Monday to officially dedicate WIT’s €20m Nurse Education Building to the memory of Mary (Molly) O’Connell-Bianconi, a war-time volunteer nurse often referred to as ‘Ireland’s Florence Nightingale’ and who was a descendant of historic figures Daniel O’Connell and Charles Bianconi.
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.
In her address, the Minister praised the high standard of professional education received by nursing students in Ireland. She pointed out that nurses amounted to 35 per cent of HSE staff which was a high proportion. She said nursing and midwifery education in Ireland had gone through a radical change process having been transformed from an apprentice model to a diploma model and now to a degree programme. A generation ago nurses learned via apprenticeship but now there was more theory involved, said Ms Harney.
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