Alumni in profile

Image of Trisha Dunning

Dr Patricia Dunning OAM
Graduate Diploma of Education (Health Education) 1990
Graduate Diploma of Professional Writing 1999
Master of Education (Thesis) 1999 and
Doctor of Philosophy 1999

"It has been a few years now since I first wore the 'floppy hat'. Over this time I have continued my clinical, academic and research role at St. Vincent's Hospital in the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, and completed a Grad Dip in professional writing."

"I love the clinical work, but some of that had to be put aside when I took up a professorial role with the School of Nursing at University of Melbourne under the grand title, Director Endocrinology and Diabetes Nursing Research. This is a joint appointment between St. Vincent's and the university, which means I have the best of both worlds, educating and managing patients, and indulging my academic leanings through teaching, writing and research."

"I read recently that people are more productive when they use both sides of their brains and my job helps me do that. I am not sure I have mastered the maze of academia yet and still spend 90% of my time in the hospital. However I have made the transition from student to supervisor and now have my own flock of students to guide through the trials and tribulations of gaining a higher degree."

"I foraged into freelance editing for a couple of years (keeping my day job, of course) and learned how pedantic I really am. I am a prodigious writer, mostly academic work at present, but I manage the occasional short story, as well as churning out a great many Haiku, which I use to teach myself 'the economy of words' and how to make each word count. Fortunately, I have at least one colleague who understands when I email him information and questions formatted as Haiku."

"It has been a thrill to have published several books for people with diabetes as well as health professionals, including volume two of my Master's thesis, which is now a nursing text in its second edition. I am currently working on two new nursing books, both due to be released soon."

"I am also a member of the editorial boards and review panels of a number of nursing and multidisciplinary journals and have a regular column responding to people's letters in Diabetes Conquest, the magazine of Diabetes Australia. The latter is a real challenge identifying what the person is actually asking and being mindful of the potential legal implications of the responses as well as space limitations."

"I am on a great many local, national and international diabetes and nursing committees, which keeps me busy. Some of the highlights of my career are giving the graduation address at the School of Nursing, Melbourne University graduation ceremony last year. Perhaps the biggest thrill was being made a Member of the Order of Australia in the honours list in 2005 for my work in nursing and diabetes management."

"In my other life I live on 17 acres in the country with my husband and animals where we are slowly learning to converse in chook, goose, sheep and alpaca, being already fluent in dog and horse. There are great messages for teaching and learning and leadership in these interactions including the importance of body language. Not only do the animals keep us sane, they keep us fit hauling food and cleaning paddocks."

"I am now learning to see the world in new ways through the shining eyes of my three-year-old granddaughter - she helps me 'keep the little grey cells' working, as Hercule Poirot would say."

Patricia is currently Chair in Nursing (Barwon Health) at Deakin University in Geelong.

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26th November 2009