Margaret Martin represents our nursing alumni body on the University of Sydney Alumni Council. She has had a rich and rewarding career in nursing and midwifery and is currently the Manager for Leadership and Workforce Capabilities for South Eastern Sydney Nursing and Midwifery Practice and Workforce Unit.
Margaret is one of our Alumni Workplace Mentors and plays an active volunteer role within Sydney Nursing School and for many of our alumni activities.
We asked Margaret a few questions about her career and passion for nursing.
What is your current role?
I am the Manager for Leadership and Workforce Capabilities for South Eastern Sydney Nursing and Midwifery Practice and Workforce. This entails working with individuals and groups to develop leaders who are able to use their focus on patient care to drive effective change within the system. I work with health professionals from all disciplines I have the best job in NSW Health! I get to see people developing and using their own potential and working to ensure that their patients get the best care possible.
What has been your biggest career highlight?
Surprisingly I find it hard to identify just one thing! I have been very fortunate and have had lots of opportunities to do lots of different things. The theme that emerges when I reflect on this question relates to people. The best part has always been meeting people and working with them whether they were patients, students, colleagues or the women and families I worked with as a midwife. Being a nurse and a midwife is a really privileged position we see people at their most vulnerable, but also at their most glorious. How many people have the honour of witnessing both ends of life?
What do you see as your biggest career achievement?
I think the opportunity to work with Sydney Nursing School to develop a national curriculum for Vietnam was a great thing to be part of. I was able to use my knowledge and experience as a teacher and as midwife and contribute to better care in another country. The best part about this was working with our Vietnamese colleagues who work in challenging circumstances and who are so generous with their time and energy. This is a work in progress, but it will make a difference to women as birth and childbearing becomes safer for them because they have access to skilled and knowledgeable midwives.
What attracted you to nursing as a profession?
When I was at school, I had actually never thought about becoming a nurse. I was working my way through the AZ of careers when I realised that being a nurse meant that I could work with people, make a difference, travel with the qualification I got and I liked the idea of learning about what made bodies work (or otherwise). Then I explored options and chose Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as my training school. I can still remember how I felt on my first ward I loved it. And I still do.
You sit on the University of Sydney Alumni Council as the Nursing representative – what does this mean to you and what do you enjoy most about it?
The Alumni Council is a great opportunity to give back a little of what the university gave me. I had my first experience of tertiary education at Sydney. As a student I was engaged in learning, but I don't know that I was fully appreciative of what excellent value I was receiving! The quality of the education I experienced has stood me in good stead all of my professional life.
The thing I enjoy most about it is contributing in a small way to the life of the university, and working with people who are driven predominantly by altruism. Most importantly, I think that nursing and midwifery are professions that deserve to be prouder of themselves and take place in all aspects of university life. Being a voice for nursing on the alumni council is a way of contributing to that.