Valuable contributions to nursing

Winifred Bullôt Smith OAM
7 October 1921 – 7 March 2009

Win died in Bowral, NSW, after several years of declining health.

Win became known throughout NSW and beyond for her nursing skills, her dedication to nurse education and her contribution to the College of Nursing.

She grew up in Sydney. Her early years were spent at Haberfield and later the family moved to Roseville.

Win commenced her nursing training at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children – the ‘Kids’ Hospital – Camperdown, in October 1939. Following midwifery training at Crown St Women’s Hospital and mothercraft at Karitane Training Centre at Woollahra, she travelled to New Zealand for further experience.

After several years back at Camper–down, Win travelled to England where she gained the Premature Baby Certificate at Sorrento Maternity Hospital, Birmingham.

Win returned to Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in the early ’50s, working in Yaralla Ward and remodeling the Diet Kitchen, before completing her Diploma of Nursing Education, a two-year course at the NSW College of Nursing, in 1958.

In 1958 she was appointed Head of the School of Nursing where she remained until 1973.

Win was instrumental in developing two post-basic certificate courses in Paediatric Nursing, and implemented a 12-month program for enrolled nurses. With Yvonne Lew, her deputy, Win wrote the standard nursing text still in use in NSW, Nursing Care of the Patient. She also wrote a text for Enrolled Nurses.

Win was totally involved in the extra curricular activities of the Children’s Hospital, which included the regular staff revue and the Inter-Hospital Swimming Carnival held annually.

During these years in Sydney, her love of horses from childhood continued, and at weekends she was off to Bowral where her horses were stabled. Win was involved in the Bowral Show Society, both as a competitor and a steward, and the Berrima District Pony Club where she spent much time teaching young riders. She became a life member of both the Show Society and the Pony Club.

It was a natural consequence that in 1973 she moved to Bowral where she became the Deputy Matron of Bowral District Hospital. Again, Win quickly became involved in the hospital’s activities, life in the local community and nurse education in the Illawarra.

Locally, Win became involved in Cross Country Eventing, the Berrima District Historical and Family History Society, Moss Vale and District Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Society, the Bowral Branch of the NSW Hospital Auxiliaries where she was treasurer for many years, and a member of the selection committee of the Hospital’s Centenary Scholarship. The United Hospital’s Association of NSW and ACT awarded Win life membership.

In 1979, Win was seconded to the Wollongong College of Advanced Education to develop a nurse education curriculum that was acceptable to the Board of Studies and the Nurses’ Registration Board of NSW. This became the first hospital-based, co-operative nurse education involving a higher education tertiary facility. Win was appointed to the Council of the University and in 1997 was honoured with a Fellowship of the University. She was also presented with the Bowral and District Hospital Medal.

In honour of the 100-year anniversary of the hospital, Win published Blessed Are They, The Story of the Bowral and District Hospital.

Win retired in 1986 and shortly afterwards was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her contribution to nursing.

Win’s life was celebrated at the Uniting Church of Bowral on Wednesday, 18 March 2009, in the presence of members of her family and her many nursing colleagues and friends.

A much-loved friend is honoured and mourned by many.

By Meryl Caldwell-Smith AM