‘Nursing is a fantastic career for anyone to follow’ despite challenges

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The Deputy Director of the Royal College of Nursing Northern Ireland has said that nursing is the ‘best profession despite all the challenges we face’.

Garrett Martin, who is originally from Co. Fermanagh but has lived in Claudy for the last two decades, has been the deputy director of the RCN for almost ten years.

He has been a nurse for over 30 years and never imagined when he first entered the profession that he would end in the position he is in.

Garrett’s mother was a nurse and was an influence in him deciding to become a nurse.

“I became interested in becoming a nurse in school because I saw nursing as providing real opportunities and options in terms of clinical education, management skills and the ability to look after and care for people,” he says.

“Nurses become highly educated and skilled in a profession which is demanding and presents immense challenges. I liked a challenge and was up for hard work.”

Garrett said he was the only man in a class of 40 when he began his training.

“The profession even now is very much female dominated. 92 per cent of registered nurses are female, so there is a big gender gap. I have been advocating and trying to promote more men in nursing because it is a fantastic career for anyone to follow, immensely challenging but very rewarding.”

Garrett’s background is in emergency care, although he is also trained in mental health and has a range of experience in other clinical areas.

He began working in the Western Trust in 2001 and became a nurse consultant in emergency care, remaining in the post for six years.

Garrett then moved to a more senior role in the Northern Trust before becoming Deputy Director the RCN NI.

“Over the last three decades the demands on nurses have increased significantly, along with pressures and expectations. Patients are living longer, which is great but what comes with that is an increasing demand,” Garrett said.

“I certainly never imagined when I became a nurse that I would end up in the position I am in within the RCN. It is an extreme privilege to be in this position and I take the responsibility of representing individual nurses and the profession as a whole very, very seriously.

“I also take great pride in the nursing profession. It is an incredible position being able to help people and working with them is such a privilege.

“Nursing is the best profession to be part of despite all the challenges we face.”