JCU Nursing School professor presents lecture about polio pioneer

A nurse who pioneered polio treatment in North Queensland was the subject of a James Cook University lecture this past Wednesday, Aug. 21.

James Cook University Nursing School
Learn more about JCU Nursing School
Professor Linda Shields, from the JCU School of Nursing, Midwifery & Nutrition, presented her Professorial Inaugural Lecture Sister Kenny’s Legacy in the Tropics in Townsville.

Professor Shields said Sister Elizabeth Kenny set up the first nursing research unit in Australia in Townsville in 1934.

“Sister Kenny’s work is a wonderful example of how nursing led the world in research and treatment that had huge benefits for the health of people and nations,” Professor Shields said.

“I have been inspired by Sister Kenny to develop a program of research which is translatable to the health and well-being of children and their families across the world.”

Professor Shields’ presentation showed why Kenny was such a leader, and how she came to Townsville. It also explained the JCU Nursing School professor’s research, about the care of children and families in health services, and how like Kenny’s work, been used to guide practice and inquiry.

The JCU Nursing School professor also explained her other area of research, history, and how it is important for the health care of today. Shields also demonstrated how today’s nurses can continue Kenny’s legacy and its importance to the nursing profession as a whole.

About James Cook University Nursing School

The James Cook University Nursing School was founded in October 1989, accepting its first students in 1990. The School of Nursing, Midwifery & Nutrition is the largest discipline within the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences. The undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing Science is offered in on-campus mode in Townsville and Cairns, mixed mode in Mackay, Mount Isa and Thursday Island, and in distance learning mode.

With JCU's Bachelor of Nursing Science, students will gain practical work experience, including rural clinical placements from their very first year, so they can graduate with work-ready skills to understand and manage
  • distinctive needs of north Queensland’s under-served and tropical populations;
  • distance and remote delivery of health care and nursing;
  • regional and rural mortality rates across all age groups;
  • medical experiences and facilities in Indigenous communities; and
  • specialized care in hospital and community settings.

Program: Bachelor of Nursing Science
Location: Townsville or Cairns, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Program duration: 3 years
Application deadline: No set deadline

Entry Requirements
Eligible applicants must have completed a high school diploma. A minimum GPA of 67% in the best six Ontario Grade 12 subjects or equivalent for students from other provinces. If you have completed post-secondary studies at the college and/or university level, those grades will also be considered.

Applicants must also have completed the prerequisite subject of English at the high-school level.

Biology, Chemistry and any high school studies in Mathematics are recommended.

Canadian college nursing graduates and Canadian university graduates with a general bachelor’s degree are welcome to apply. James Cook University will assess a student’s application for credit for previous studies to determine whether past subjects are equivalent to JCU nursing subjects, and credit may be granted toward some JCU nursing subjects.


Canadian and Australian nursing programs at the university level are similar. To become a registered nurse, you need to complete a Bachelor of Nursing degree, or, alternatively, you can undertake a general undergraduate nursing degree and then progress into a two-year, graduate-entry master’s nursing degree.

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