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Mater nurse inspires next generation of healthcare heroes


It was a passion for caring for those who she saw injured alongside her in the Defence Force that made Townsville’s Lauren McMillan swap the front lines of the army for the front lines of Mater Private Hospital Townsville’s Emergency Department.

“When I was in the military I was on an exercise up at High Range and one of my colleagues sustained a serious head injury,” Ms McMillan said. “As we worked on ensuring he was safe I remember not knowing what to do and wanting to have the knowledge to know how to help if I was ever in a similar situation again and signed up to become a nurse the very next day.”

Ms McMillan began as an emergency nurse at Mater Private Hospital Townsville four years ago and, this International Nurses Day (12 May 2023), she is encouraging the next generation of healthcare workers to consider a similar career.

“International Nurses Day is so important to celebrate because it gives us a chance to not only showcase the great nurses locally, but also allows us to reflect on and appreciate the things we do.

“Since I started studying to become a nurse, I haven’t stopped ­– I’m currently completing a Masters degree and a TAFE certificate because the more I study, the more passionate I become about healthcare. I love education and seeing others learn new things and realising that same passion, so am very proud to be a Mater Educator now.

“Mater delivers a range of fantastic education options; I teach our Vocational Education and Training in Schools course, which includes certificates II and III in healthcare. We provide students with really good skills from infection control all the way through to patient care, communication and diversity. Following this program, many students progress to Mater Education’s Diploma of Nursing which is all taught on campus at Mater Private Hospital Townsville.”

Mater Private Hospital General Manager and registered nurse and midwife, Stephanie Barwick, said International Nurses Day was an important opportunity to recognise the hard-working healthcare workers across the globe.

“Mater’s vision is to empower people to live better lives through improved health and wellbeing, and this is embodied through our dedicated nurses across Queensland – but especially here in Townsville with more than 700 nurses at our Pimlico and Hyde Park facilities,” Ms Barwick said.

“I began my own nursing career here in 2005 and in that time, have worked with a fantastic team of healthcare workers all committed to providing compassionate care to every patient. Nurses are the bones of any hospital, and we are proud to recognise their dedication and passion.

“Happy International Nurses Day from Mater Private Hospital Townsville.”

If you are interested in joining the next generation of nurses, applications are now open for Mater Education’s July intake for the Diploma of Nursing – visit mater.li/ApplyForDoN.