St Vincent's Nurses Alumni

Welcome to the St Vincent’s Nurses Alumni website.

The Alumni was originally established by Ida O’Dwyer in 1923. It continues to partner with St Vincent’s Hospital to retain a connectedness amongst past nurses, present nurse employees and adjunct members to:

  • pursue activities that foster nursing excellence including sponsoring scholarships to advance education and practice; facilitate mentoring relationships; and support nursing research
  • provide social opportunities to foster friendships and networks with a focus on support for past and present nurse employees experiencing disadvantage
  • promote recruitment opportunities to past, present and potential future nurse employees
  • contribute to the St Vincent’s Hospital archives
  • promote the philosophy and values of the Sisters of Charity and the mission of St Vincent’s Hospital
  • to raise funds to support Alumni projects and activities highlighted above.

With members from near and far, the Alumni offers friendship, professional networking and opportunities to contribute to advancing nursing leadership and practice at St Vincent’s.

Events and activities

The Alumni Committee emails regular updates to members about upcoming events and items of interest.

Watch this space in early 2023 for planned exciting gatherings including the centenary events celebrating the inaugural meeting of St Vincent’s Hospital past nurses organised by Ida O’Dwyer. The meeting was the foundation of the now St Vincent’s Nurses Alumni.

The Mass for deceased SVHA members

The annual Mass for deceased Members will be held on Saturday 25 March 2023, at the Australian Catholic University Chapel. Father Michael Elligate is our celebrant.

Mass will be followed by afternoon tea. For catering purposes, please advise SVNA by 13 March 2023, at if you wish to attend.


Reunions provide a precious opportunity to catch up with friends and former colleagues, to share stories and network.

When organising events with colleagues and/or celebratory reunions consider booking tables at the SVNA annual luncheon. Please email the St Vincent's Nurses Alumni Committee at for further information.

Alternatively, if you would like to include your stories on this website, or organise a reunion for your year group, contact Rebecca Martin, Events Manager on Tel: (03) 9231 3287.

The St Vincent’s Foundation staff are happy to assist past and present nurses when planning your reunion. Please contact the Foundation on 9231 3365 to discuss your plans.

Some details they can assist with are:

Venue: The board room on Level 11 of the main hospital building overlooking the museum is available to use and can seat up to 30 comfortably or larger numbers for buffet style gatherings.

Display: Archives can assist with memorabilia display from your era.

Catering: Catering can be arranged on site.


The Alumni raises funds to pursue activities that foster nursing excellence and leadership including sponsoring scholarships to advance education, practice, and support nursing research. There is no registration fee for Alumni membership.

The Alumni relies entirely on fundraising and donations.

Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible. If you wish to make a financial contribution to support the Alumni’s work please complete the below form. It is important that you reference the donation to SVNA when you lodge the form.

Annually the Alumni is committed currently to providing:

  • $10,000 for Post Graduate scholarships
  • $2,000 for the Ida O’Dwyer Award.

Please consider supporting the Alumni in any way you can. With your support the Alumni can expand its work in advancing nursing leadership and practice.

President's Message

Dear Colleagues

In 2022, the St Vincent’s Nurses Alumni focussed on growing our membership. I am pleased to say that it is working! The SVNA now has twenty new members, with several joining sub-committees to help fulfil SVNA’s aim to be more inclusive across St Vincent’s Public and St Vincent’s Private Hospital sites.

I wish to again highlight to you that, in 1923, it is 100 years since Ida O’Dwyer established the foundation for what is now known as the Alumni. Her vision of 'nurses supporting nurses' reverberates 100 years later. I witness day to day the collegiate support nurses offer each other in a system under such pressure with the lasting impacts of COVID-19 and the associated workload stress and competing demands.

Be assured that the Alumni will continue to vigorously develop opportunities and experiences that advance nursing practice which includes sponsoring activities that help better understand workload stress.

There will be many events across 2023 forming part of the SVNA centenary celebration including the annual Mass for deceased Members, planned for Saturday 25 March at the Australian Catholic University Chapel. Mass will be followed by afternoon tea. For catering purposes please advise us if you wish to attend (visit

Events and Activities drop box on our webpage at for further information).

SVNA hosted High Tea at the Windsor Hotel, Melbourne for 112 members and friends on 11th November. Raffle winners at this event were Rosalyn McInerney, Judy Hindle, Julie Wain, Helen Crowe and Catherine Gorr. Congratulations to you all and thank you to the generous sponsors of the raffle. Approximately $7,000 was raised for the SVNA scholarship fund. Our presenters Janine Loader Regional Chief Executive Officer, St Vincent’s Private Hospital and Sue Parkes, Chief Executive Officer reaffirmed the importance of scholarship within a profession experiencing significant stress at the front line.

I encourage all SVH nursing colleagues to join the SVNA and continue the advance in nursing practice which improves the wellbeing of the individuals and communities who we serve.

To register for Alumni membership, please go the ‘Join the Alumni’ drop box on our webpage at

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families, joy and wellness across the Festive Season and through 2023. I extend these wishes to St Vincent’s Hospital nursing fraternity, the Foundation and the Communications team, I thank them for their support in 2022.

The Alumni Committee looks forward to working with you all in 2023.

Clare Dyer

President St Vincent’s Nurses Alumni


Sharing our memories

Fancy a trip down memory lane? We all have stories that we can remember and share. If you would like to add your story or memories to this page, email

An extract is below from the handbook given to all new arrivals at the historical Preliminary Training School.

A Nurse must be:
Obedient and loyal to all rules, as the foundation of her work;
Active, yet quiet;
Methodical, reliable, careful, clean and neat;
Observant, intelligent and economical;
Capable of self-control, persevering gentleness, tact, sympathy and common sense;
Careful to pay attention to professional etiquette, remembering what is due to those in authority;
Careful in manner and attention to Visitors or Patients’ friends, a duty Nurses in the pressure of their work are apt to overlook;
Careful to wear her uniform with spotless cleanliness, neatness, and simplicity; hair tidy, and general bearing that of military smartness;
Careful to be always guarded in her behaviour towards Doctors and Students.

Join the Alumni

Catch up with friends and former colleagues, share news, enjoy annual events and reunions, and keep up with what’s happening at the hospital. The St Vincent’s Nurses Alumni Committee invites you to become a member and help the Alumni achieve its goals.

Membership is open to:

  • nursing graduates
  • enrolled and registered nurse employees (current and past) from St Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne)
  • those invited by the St Vincent’s Nurses Alumni Committee to participate.


There is no joining fee.

To join, please email

Your name
Your email address
Mobile number
Year of graduation
Current or previous St Vincent’s employee
Any other information you wish to share