Passing of Professor Joyce Mary Mellish
Described as a ‘Nurse of Substance’ (Nursing Update, February 2004), Professor Joyce Mary Mellish passed away peacefully on 26 November 2013 at the age of 95 in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. On 30 August 2013 she celebrated her 95th birthday with friends and family. Her niece, Ann Queripel also a nurse, enthralled all present with highlights of her aunt’s many distinguished accomplishments.
Born in Cape Town on 30 August 1918, her short-lived first career started off in the commercial world as a shorthand typist. This skill would stand her in good stead as a nurse author in later years. During World War II she first became a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) of the Red Cross Society and worked at Groote Schuur Hospital. This experience was so rewarding that, even before the war had ended, Mellish formally started her second career as a nurse at the Victoria Hospital.
During her training Mellish endured a 60-hour workweek with one day off. She attended lectures in her off-duty time and not even night duty was a good enough reason for her not to attend midday lectures. She observed with wonder the miraculous recovery of patients from infected war-inflicted wounds through the use of new medications like penicillin. This enthusiasm about research was to remain with her throughout her nursing career. At the age of 26 she completed her nursing studies with honours.
At the age of 29, Mellish completed her midwifery training with honours at the Frere Hospital in East London. Thereafter she moved back to the Cape and worked at the Groote Schuur Hospital which launched her into a teaching career in nursing where she made her mark in South Africa.
Her interest in, and development of, speech and drama skills were most suitable for her career in nursing education. This interest took Mellish beyond the borders of this country. She contributed to international debate at conferences and undertook study tours. Mellish actively participated in ensuring that standards of nursing practice within the borders of South Africa were upheld. She was also a full time examiner for the South African Nursing Council (SANC) until the age of 52.
Not daunted by the inconvenience of travel across the length and breadth of the country, she simultaneously pursued part-time studies for a BA degree through UNISA majoring in Sociology and Psychology which she obtained at the age of 49.
Her academic career was fast-tracked from here, obtaining her first M Cur degree (Advanced Nursing Education) from the University of Pretoria at the age of 53, being one of the early Masters graduates of the doyen of South African nursing, Professor Charlotte Searle. Now well prepared for academia, Mellish took a post at the University of the Western Cape while studying for her second M Cur degree (Advanced Nursing Administration) at the University of Pretoria and graduating at the age of 56.
In 1975, at the age of 57, Mellish was appointed as the first Professor and Head of Nursing at the University of Port Elizabeth. The following year she became the first nurse in South Africa to obtain a D Cur degree.
At the age of 64 Professor Mellish retired to Cape Town. At her retirement she was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the South African Nursing Association.
Mellish’s love for writing continued well into retirement and at the time of her death she had published 11 nursing texts, three of which have been translated into Afrikaans.
Professor Mellish retained a deep interest in nursing until the end. Her former students have many memories of stimulating and informal tutorials at which there was a real ‘meeting of the minds’. In a tribute to Joyce Mary Mellish published in SA Nurses of Distinction (South African Nursing Association, 1989), Sandra Johnston, one such former student, writes: “Professor Mellish has the enviable reputation of being one of the most revered grande dames of the nursing profession in South African. Not only as an accomplished professional woman but also as the epitome of a lady. She continues in her golden years to be a role model for all who wish to rise to the top in nursing.”
At her 85th birthday, Mellish’s advice to nurses and those entering into the profession was to remember that ‘nursing is about caring’.
Tribute by Dr Una Kyriacos, Division of Nursing & Midwifery, University of Cape Town, former student of Professor Mellish, first published in 2004.
THE EAST, CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA COLLEGE OF NURSING (ECSACON)
FUNDISA members attended the 2nd DENOSA conference in Durban hosted by the ICC.
4 June 2013
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the passing away of Dr Renette Myburgh. Renette was diagnosed with Motor Neuron disease at the beginning of 2012. Her condition deteriorated gradually and she was bedridden for the past year. She lost her speech initially and gradually developed muscle weakness, then muscle atrophy commenced and eventually she developed difficulty to swallow and breathe.
Dr Myburgh was one of three Sub-project leaders at the School of Nursing's UNEDSA project. She was the Programme Director of the Undergraduate Programme and Undergraduate Midwifery Coordinator.
Our heartfelt sympathies goes out to Renette's family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances.
NEWS JULY 2012
Death of Professor Robertson
This is what one of her students wrote on hearing of her death:
It is with extreme sadness that I receive this news on the sudden passing of Professor Robertson. Her contribution to Nursing and Health Care in South Africa was immeasurable for she worked with passion, zeal and was an influential force on any issue or course because she believed in it on every level, particularly as a nurse, humanitarian, teacher and ethicist.
I had the pleasure thrice of visiting Professor Robertson and Dr Harold Robertson in Cape Town in the retirement village when I visited South Africa, and know that she had been extensively involved in HIV/AIDS care on a voluntary basis particularly in the Cape flats. She kept up her fitness and strength over the years by playing tennis early on in her retirement, and took long walks on the side of the mountain where the retirement village was nestled. More recently, I spoke with Prof on the Mon 5 Dec 2011 on my way to my PhD graduation at Wits, and we reminisced about Wits and its contribution to South Africa. Prof had just returned that day from putting Dr Harold into bed in the frail care unit at the retirement village. She admitted that she was tired and ready needed to slow down!
Emeritus Professor Barbara Robertson, you are saluted for your dedication to Nursing as a profession and for the many, many people who benefited from your kindness, spirituality, compassion and commitment to moving people from suffering to healing in healthcare and/or dignified death. As my research thesis supervisor for MSc (Nursing), you taught me more than just research and health care, you shaped my professional character and gave me pearls that I cherished forever. You will forever be remembered for the amazing and fine human being that you were in this life. May your soul rest eternally in peace.
I extend sincere condolences to the Wits staff and nurses worldwide who feel the sadness and mourn her loss, including Dr Eugenie Hildebrandt from the USA who completed her PhD in Nursing at Wits under the supervisor of Professor Robertson.
First central workshop for Lead Researchers
July Presentations Business Meeting
Presentations at May Business Meeting
NEWS APRIL 2012
NMMU launches new facilities
The Department of Nursing at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University introduced visitors to their inspiring new simulation laboratories and teaching venues on Wednesday the 2 nd May. The have created a “virtual hospital” with a PHC clinic, a midwifery unit, a mental health care counselling facility, a high care unit (which includes an operating room). In each unit a number of stations make it possible for students to practice skills on high and low complexity models. Even their classrooms are uniquely equipped with “smart boards” where presentations can be done without a data projector or a laptop, and where illustrations can be saved and sent to students via the internet. Some of the educators really experienced the future of nursing education in this setting, and the pride of students and faculty was palpable. Congratulations!
FUNDISA hosts a USA volunteer
Dr Karin Babich, retired from the National Institutes of Mental Health in Washington, spend February and March with FUNDISA, funded by UNEDSA, to assist in the development of a structured support programme for academic departments to develop a research programme. During her visit she interacted with the Research Portfolio Committee, and also visited the Universities of Western Cape and Free State. But most of her days were spent working away in her little corner office, so that by the end of the two months, we had a Handbook, which is currently being printed. We than her very much for the magnificent job she did for us and for nursing research in South Africa.
The great news is that the National Research Foundation has provided funding for the first year of the implementation of this support programme for 15 lead researchers. The call has gone out and currently 11 lead researchers from 9 universities have registered. With only four places remaining, universities that have not responded yet, will need to be fast!
KZN Nursing College feasibility study commences
FUNDISA has won the tender to do a feasibility study for upgrading the KZN Nursing College so that their educational programmes can be registered by the Higher Education Quality Committee, which is a legal requirement. The data collection part of the study has started, with help from UKZN (Prof BusiBhengu and a senior librarian Ms Margaret Bass), DUT (Dr Aisha Razak), UNIZULU (Ms AminaNgozi), Allan Paton Architects (Mr SphiweGumede) and NEA (Ms Nelouise Geyer). Once the data has been collected, we will workshop the results and proposals with the Education Portfolio Committee before we share this with the KZN College. The study should be completed by the end of July.
CEO on WHO Core Group on the Up-scaling of transformative medical and nursing education
Dr Leana Uys visited Washington in March to attend a three-day workshop of the core group of nurses and doctors who are working with WHO on a project (in partnership with PEPFAR) to plan a policy document about the up-scaling of nursing and medical professionals. The concept “transformative” was added to the brief in order to focus on the need to ensure that we do not just train more, but that we train better health professionals, who are more relevant and competent to address population health needs. South African nurse academics was well represented: In preparation for the meeting three policy briefs were developed, and all three teams were led by or involved South African nurse academics. Professor Uys and Dr Leonie Coetzee developed a policy brief on accreditation of health professionals, Dr Lyn Middleton and her team developed a policy brief on the evidence to support high fidelity simulators in training, and Dr Pat Mc Inerny of WITS participated in a policy brief about the continuing professional development of educators. The policy briefs and the transformative up-scaling policy is expected to be published by the WHO later this year. We will keep you posted!
THE MENTAL HEALTH SUMMIT, APRIL, 2012, ST GEORGE’S HOTEL, PRETORIA, GAUTENG
The Mental Health Summit was opened by the Minister of Health, who motivated why he thought this summit was important, quoting a study which indicate that only 1 out of 8 people with severe mental illness in South Africa receive treatment. Most impressive during the opening ceremony was a session of music therapy by the staff and seriously disabled residents from Little Eden Home in Guateng. The obvious dedication of the staff and the affirming interaction between them and the residents, were inspiring.
The first day was spent on messages of support, and then contributions from different sectors, such as The Judicial system and Higher Education. It was interesting to hear the Ministry of Correctional Services describe a study they did to establish to what extent mental patients in their system received appropriate treatment. Lastly, introductory plenary presentations were done to set the scene for the discussions. Most important was the recent epidemiological studies done that illustrated the very high incidence of mental health problems in South Africa, and the presentation on substance abuse which underlined the importance of this issue in our communities. A lack of intervention studies was also reported.
The second day was spent on 10 commissions, each of which was introduced by two speakers. The commissions had to contribute to the strengthening of the new National Mental Health Policy Framework for South Africa (Draft 1, April 2010), which formed the basis of the discussions in the commissions:
A large number of nurses took part in the discussions, which took about three hours, and resulted in additions to the Policy, and also a “Declaration on Mental Health”. One sometimes get the impression that the DOH already knows what they want in these declarations that emanate from summits. Nevertheless, from each commission one proposal was added to the declaration to capture the major intentions of the group in order to improve mental health in the country.
Skool vir Verpleegkunde
Senior Lektor / Lektor (3 poste) – Verw.: H1202-010
Pligte en verantwoordelikhede:
Senior Lektor :
So spoedig moontlik
19 Maart 2012
Die salarisskaal is op aanvraag beskikbaar. Vir enige verdere navrae, skakel gerus 051 401 9339/9329.
(Onderhewig aan bepaalde voorwaardes): pensioenskema, mediesehulpskema, groeplewensversekering, behuisingstoelae, verlof en siekteverlof, diensbonus en studievoordele.
Die Universiteit behou die reg voor om nie die pos te vul nie. Die Universiteit onderskryf die beginsels soos voorgeskryf deur die Wet op Billike Indiensneming, en pas dit toe. Voorkeur sal aan kandidate van die aangewese groepe verleen word ooreenkomstig die beginsels van die genoemde Wet en die werknemersprofiel van die spesifieke departement/afdeling.
Aansoeke moet gerig word aan die Departement Menslike Hulpbronne, George du Toit-gebou, kamer 265, Universiteit van die Vrystaat, Posbus 339, Bloemfontein, 9300. Let asseblief daarop dat aansoeke nie per faks of e-pos gestuur kan word nie. Alle aansoeke moet deur die volgende vergesel word:
Onthou asseblief om die verwysingsnommer en die pos waarvoor aansoek gedoen word, aan te dui. Aansoeke sonder die verwysingsnommer sal nie oorweeg word nie. Indien u binne ses weke na die sluitingsdatum van aansoeke nie gekontak is nie, kan u aanvaar dat u aansoek onsuksesvol was.
Faculty of Health Sciences
School of Nursing
Senior Lecturer/Lecturer (3 vacancies) - Ref.: H1202-010
Duties and responsibilities:
Senior Lecturer :
Senior Lecturer :
Assumption of duties:
As soon as possible
19 March 2012
The salary scale is available on request. For any further enquiries, please feel free to contact 051 401 9339/9329.
(Subject to specific conditions): pension scheme, medical aid scheme, group life insurance, housing allowance, leave and sick leave, service bonus and study benefits.
The University reserves the right not to fill the post. The University subscribes to and applies the principles prescribed by the Employment Equity Act. Preference will be given to candidates from the designated groups, in accordance with the principles of the aforementioned Act and the employee profile of the specific department/division.
Please send your application to the Human Resources Department, University of the Free State, George du Toit Building, Room 265, P.O. Box 339, Bloemfontein, 9300. Please note that applications may not be sent via fax or e-mail. All applications must be accompanied by the following:
Please indicate the reference number and the post you are applying for on your application. Applications with no reference number will not be considered. Should you not be contacted within six weeks of the closing date of applications, you may accept that your application was unsuccessful
News February 2012
Business meeting February
The Business meeting was hosted by UCT’s Child Nurse Practice Development Initiative at the Red Cross Hospital. The meeting was attended by the Registrar of the SA Nursing Council, Mr TendaniMabuda, who shared information on a range of issues raised by members. Prof Janse Tolmie also attended, and gave a presentation on software for academic administration specifically developed for nursing schools. On the last day, Prof Minette Coetzee gave a presentation on practice development as done by the CNPDI and some of the members visited the hospital. The next meeting is in May and will be hosted by the University of Johannesburg.
A number of SANC regulations have been published, and FUNDISA will be submitting their own response to these regulations. At the Business meeting the following principles were accepted with regard to FUNDISA’s view of the work of SANC:
Our feedback will be submitted to SANC by the end of this month.
"Women's Health 2012: Partnering for a Brighter Global Future"
Time is running out to get your abstracts in for the International Council’s of
Women’s Health Issues (ICOWHI’s) 19th International Congress "Women's Health
2012: Partnering for a Brighter Global Future" to be held 14-16 November 2012 in
Bangkok, Thailand. The deadline for abstract submission is 31 March, 2012. For
information regarding abstract requirements please visit
News January 2012
Professor Shirley Willaimson passed away:
Shirley matriculated from St Mary's DSG in Pretoria and thereafter commenced her nurses training at Grey's Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. After completing her training as a nurse, she travelled overseas to Scotland where she obtained her midwifery qualification at Edinburgh Hospital.On Shirley's return to South Africa she nursed at hospitals on the East Rand and continued her studies, becoming principal of the Germiston Nursing College.
The University of the Witwatersrand began its B.Sc. (Nursing) programme in 1969. Shirley joined Wits in 1970 and, in 1973, was appointed as the temporary head of the nursing sub-department and took up a seat on the University's Senate Committee. A full and independent Department of Nursing at Wits was established in 1977, and Shirley became Wits' first Professor of Nursing.
Shirley had many gifts, and was a strong administrator with the ability to delegate and motivate. She had a great strength of character and a need to serve, which she did with warmth and humour. She was a good listener and related well to people of all ages. Gradually increasing deafness resulted in her decision to take early retirement in 1986, settling in Helderberg Village in Somerset West, where she lived very happily for 21 years, while she continued her calling to serve others in any way she could.
She died quietly on 14th January in her suite at Helderberg Village.