Making a difference in developing communities

From India to Rwanda and Vietnam, Dianne Longson’s remarkable nursing career has taken her across the world and fulfilled a lifelong dream to make a difference in developing communities.

After graduating from Flinders University in the early 1980s with a Diploma in Applied Science (Nursing), Dianne embraced training the next generation as a nursing teacher. She later completed a Master of Nursing at Flinders before answering the call to work in Rwanda.

‘I always had in me that seed of wanting to do something valuable in a different culture, and contribute something meaningful to the world,’ says Dianne (DipAppSc(Nurs) ’82, MNg(Cwk) ’08).

That desire led to her working as a clinical nurse educator and team leader at the King Faisal Hospital, Kigali in Rwanda for nine years. It was at a critical time when the hospital was embarking on international accreditation, the first hospital in East Africa to do so.

‘Accreditation was a long process – it took us nearly six years,’ Dianne recalls. ‘It meant installing best-practice equipment and processes across every aspect of the hospital.

She says accreditation was valuable for better community health outcomes and to set an example to other East African hospitals, as well as providing health security for greater foreign investment.

Dianne’s sought after nursing education skills were instrumental in another milestone in East African health – helping to establish its first cancer treatment ward at the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence in Rwanda’s northern highlands.

The groundbreaking centre heralded a new future for local cancer sufferers, who previously were destined for early, often imminent death.

Dianne has also worked on projects in India and more recently in Vietnam, where she educated nurses in teaching and clinical supervision.

The skills, values and world view shaped by Dianne’s education at Flinders have helped her seamlessly fit in with cultures around the world, assisting her to achieve her own dreams, while also impacting the lives of thousands of patients and student nurses.

Learn more about studying Nursing at Flinders University.

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