Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Wednesday 21st February 2007. Dr. Therese Connell Meehan conferred with RCSI Honorary Fellowship.

21 February 2007

Wednesday 21st February 2007 – Dr. Therese Connell Meehan conferred with RCSI Honorary Fellowship.

Dr. Therese Connell Meehan was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery for her outstanding contributions to her field. The conferring was made at the 26th Annual Nursing and Midwifery Conference which was held in RCSI from February 21st-22nd 2007.

Dr. Therese Connell Meehan was born and raised in Southland, New Zealand. She received her high school education at St. Mary’s College in Wellington and her first nursing experience as a nursing assistant at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Auckland. She trained as a general and obstetrical nurse at the Auckland Hospital School of Nursing and following graduation travelled for four years, mainly in Europe and the Middle East, and worked as a nurse in England and Italy.

In the early 1970s she went to the United States where she graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975. She studied for a Masters Degree in Nursing, with a Minor in Education, at New York University and graduated in 1978. She received the award for the 1977 outstanding Master’s Student from that University. In 1983 she received the Scholarship Award for Doctoral Students and graduated with a Ph.D in Nursing from New York University in 1984. While studying for her higher degrees she worked in a range of acute care clinical practice positions. After completing her Doctoral Degree she became the Director of Nursing for Research at New York University Medical Center.

Pictured from L to R are Ms Nora Cummins; Dr. Therese Connell Meehan; Ms Eileen Meagher Dean of the Faculty of Nursing; Professor Gerald O’Sullivan, President of RCSI and Prof Seamus Cowman, Professor of Nursing at RCSI and Head of Department at the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery

At the New York University Medical Center she was engaged for several years in a range of clinical experimental research projects including studies of the effects of nurses’ therapeutic use of touch on post-operative pain, interventions to decrease nurses’ stress in clinical settings, and risk factors associated with patient falls. She received over half a million dollars in funding for these studies from the United States National Institutes of Health and from several private and professional funding agencies, including Sigma Theta Tau International, the American Nurses Foundation, and the United Hospital Fund. Over the years she received several awards for her work, including being selected in 1990 as one of the New York State Legislature's Nurses of Distinction.

In 1996 Dr. Meehan and her husband came to live in Ireland. At first she worked at the Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland for a short period of time during which she contributed greatly to the work of our Faculty. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Nursing at University College Dublin. In 2003 Dr. Meehan led a team of researchers who received funding from the National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery, through the Health Research Board, to conduct the first national study of nursing and midwifery research priorities for Ireland. The publication of the study findings was launched last year at an International Health Research Board conference at Dublin Castle and it received wide recognition for its design and conduct, pointing the way as the first such study to be completed by a health profession in Ireland.

Since coming to Ireland Dr. Meehan has changed her main research focus to historical research; specifically the early development of modern nursing in Ireland from 1800 to 1856. She has found that the history of Nursing in Ireland is extremely rich and significant. For example, one of the first comprehensive guides for nursing practice in modern times was established at Dublin’s Hardwick Fever hospital in 1815 and, during the Crimean War of 1854-1856, it guided the practice of the skilled Irish Nurses who worked with Florence Nightingale during that time. The Nursing History Centers at the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania have awarded Dr. Meehan Research Fellowships. She is developing a contemporary Irish conceptual model of Nursing called Careful Nursing, which is already in use by Nurses in the United States. This is based on content analyses of the nursing system used by 19th century Irish nurses, who were in the main Sisters of Mercy and Irish Sisters of Charity. She has published widely on her research and theoretical work.