A 1984 graduate with highest distinction of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at IU South Bend, Diane Parmelee is director of educational services for Beacon Health in South Bend and the previous leader of educational services for South Bend’s Memorial Hospital, now part of the Beacon Health System. Parmelee is also an alumna of the IUPUI campus, where she earned a Master of Science in Nursing in 2005.
As a local supervisor of nursing education for more than 40 years, Parmelee has mentored many nurses in South Bend and surrounding communities. Responsible for transitioning new graduate nurses to full-time clinical practice as registered nurses, she has led orientation for all nurses joining the staff of Memorial Hospital, and, more recently, the entire Beacon Health System. In doing so, she has enculturated and socialized new nurses within the profession of nursing, promoting the values, attitudes, and skills of communicating and interacting as nurses while part of a complex healthcare team.
Beginning with their first day of employment, Parmelee ensures that nurses are welcomed to Beacon facilities and provided with essential background on the institution and the larger community. “I distinctly remember her doing so for me when I first arrived at Memorial,” says Barbara White, assistant clinical professor of nursing in the Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences at IU South Bend. “While I had previous experience as a registered nurse, I was new to the area and to Memorial Hospital. Diane welcomed me, mentored me about the ways of the hospital system, and helped me to feel that I belonged and could contribute to the mission of the hospital.”
Perhaps Parmelee’s greatest gifts to the area’s nursing community are her warmth, humor, and collegiality. She has a reputation for helping every nurse who looks to her for guidance, information, and encouragement. “Her advice is always grounded in reality and the best interest of the person seeking it, and is given with grace and wisdom,” says White. “The IU South Bend nursing students have no idea how fortunate they are to have a champion of the magnitude of Ms. Parmelee in the community.”
Parmelee is an active partner with the administration of IU South Bend’s School of Nursing. She participates in the school’s accreditation process and assists in the recruitment of promising students to its programs, which include the Bachelor of Science, registered-nurse-to-Bachelor-of-Science, and Master of Science tracks. She helps secure placement of IU South Bend nursing students in clinical units at Memorial Hospital and Elkhart General Hospital, which is also part of the Beacon system. She recruits and hires IU South Bend students to work as patient care assistants before graduation from the nursing program. Parmelee regularly confers with the School of Nursing’s Advisory Council to guide the nursing program’s future direction to respond to changing needs.
She is a member of the board of Healthwin Hospital in South Bend and serves on the regional faculty of the American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support Programs. In all of her endeavors, Parmelee’s devotion to the people of South Bend, her lifelong home, is self evident and inspirational.