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Mater’s teaching excellence celebrated this World Teachers’ Day


When Mater Education’s Tara Walton saw a severe cardiac complication as a registered nurse, she knew she had the ability to change the lives of her patients.

Ms Walton was working one of her first shifts as team lead when a cardiac patient’s wound reopened post-surgery in the Intensive Care Unit. Due to the severity of the complication, there was no time to get the patient into theatre, giving the team no choice but to operate on the ward. The patient survived the complication and was discharged days later.

“I remember thinking, ‘what are other 23-year-olds doing on a Friday night while I am literally watching a woman’s heart beating in her chest,’” Ms Walton said. “You really have the ability to change lives as a nurse.”

Since then, Ms Walton has taken on the role as Mater Education Team Lead and Head of Discipline, based at the Mater Private Hospital Townsville Clinical School.

“My role is all about ensuring the curriculum is compliant and supported with best practice. This aligns with registration standards upon graduation as an enrolled nurse. It is such a rewarding career. Whether you are student or patient facing, nursing can take you anywhere”.

Ms Walton and her team of Townsville educators have been recognised as finalists in the Teaching Excellence category at the Mater People Awards, with the winner to be announced tonight, Friday 27 October 2023, at the annual gala event.

“It was such an honour – thank you to whoever nominated us. Honestly, the words were just so kind and that means more than the nomination itself. We are a very cohesive team who work so well together and the recognition is very rewarding”.

The Townsville team of finalists is made up of Ms Walton, Diploma of Nursing Educators, Natalie Kloosterman, Sally Dickson and Kaylene Paxton, Simulation Educator Sophie Miles, and Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) educator Lauren McMillan.

“Here in Townsville – across the hospital and the clinical school – we have such a tight-knit community. We’ve developed a strong family feel. We are a team of six and we are all there for each and every one of our students. We get to know them and their personalities which has made us one big family!”

In celebration of World Teachers’ Day today (27 October 2023), Mater Education recognises the dedication of their educators across Queensland. Our educators who support our students to graduate as healthcare professionals, ready to kickstart rewarding careers of their own, and our educators who support our hospital clinicians and healthcare professionals to refine and develop their skills every day.

“As an educator, you really have the ability to affect and positively change your student’s journey through their learning,” Ms Walton said. “Never underestimate the power and impact you have on each student you teach and use it wisely!”

Ms Walton encourages anyone considering a nursing or healthcare career to take the plunge. “A healthcare course gives you endless opportunities to explore so many different fields. You’re never going to be stuck doing one thing”.

Happy World Teachers’ Day to all of our incredible Mater educators!