Getting to know the NOW team: Martina Willoughby

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What is your role at NOW?

I am the Program Manager. I was appointed in March 2016.

How long have you been with NOW?

5 years in August.

What was your previous role at NOW?

I am a Registered Nurse. I was visiting patients in their homes for 3.5 years and then I started working in the office. I started learning how things functioned in the office. Last year I was given the opportunity to work in the office full time. This year I started in the [newly created] position of Program Manager.

How long have you been a nurse?

I did my first nursing degree in the Czech Republic in 1996, and worked in theatre for four years. After coming to Australia, I went back to university for 2.5 years part-time to get my Australian qualifications.

What nursing jobs did you hold before coming to NOW?

I worked in a private Jewish hospital for about 8 years where I was employed as an AIN [assistant in nursing]. I worked there full-time while going to university part-time. After graduating I got an RN [registered nurse] position at the same hospital. After 1.5 years my family moved to the Shire, making the commute impossible. This is when I started with NOW.

What influenced your decision to become a nurse?

I always had it in me. I remember bandaging dolls when I was 5 years old. My mum was always unable to handle the sight of blood, so if Dad injured himself, or needed someone’s help, I had to help as Mum would faint. Ever since I remember I have said that I am either going to become a nurse or a doctor.

Do you enjoy nursing?

I love nursing. I love chatting to people. I love hearing stories. We hear the most incredible stories such as war stories about people losing touch with each other 50 years ago and finding themselves now.  There is the story of the lady who got engaged at 83, married at 84 and her family were so against it in case he wasn’t good for her… There are heaps of amazing stories. They show life, the lives people have lived.

Do you miss that?

I do. My office job is great but I do miss working with patients. You come to someone’s house to provide them with care and you have a chat about their children and grandchildren while you are there with them. The patients wait for you to turn up. They don’t really wait for you to bandage their leg, they want to have a chat with you. I do miss that, I miss the patients, but I also love my new job.

What are the benefits of your new role?

I have a greater understanding of how we work. You know what your job is when you go and see clients but you have little understanding of what happens behind the scenes to keep things going. Also, now I am more efficient in being able to give people answers to questions like “Why are we doing what we are doing?”. It has given me a much wider picture of the organisation.

What are some the challenges you face in your role and how do you overcome them?

We recently restructured to face upcoming changes brought on by government funding and legislation changes in aged care. Ensuring we are prepared for these changes is the biggest challenge of the moment.

How do you overcome this?

Lots of learning. We are being mentored by NOW CEO, Jill Deering and board member Jan Gartrell. We have just worked with Jenny Bray, an external consultant, who provided a lot of mentoring and expertise in improving service procedures.  

What is the future of Nurse On Wheels?

We are Nurses On Wheels. We are known for the great service that we offer. We drive around in our little cars and come into your homes to care for you. We want to keep the essence of Nurses On Wheels, and expand it so we service a wider community. This is what I want to be a part of.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I am a keen reader. I love knitting but I haven’t been doing much of this. I am family woman. I love my daughter and my husband. I love to go away on the weekend to the beach, somewhere quiet, to relax with a lot of family.