‘The world is your oyster’: new leader’s advice for nurses and midwives

Carol Farmer is welcomed by Westmead Hospital clinical midwifery consultant Michelle Underwood, registered midwife Elizabeth Holland and clinical midwifery consultant Stephanie Bishop.

When Carol Farmer was a five-year-old in England, ‘nurse Marion’ came rushing to her aid after she suffered a nasty fall down the stairs.

Nurse Marion made such an impression on young Carol that she decided then and there that she was going to become a nurse.

Fast track to the present day and Carol has climbed through the ranks to become Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) newly appointed executive director of nursing and midwifery and clinical governance.

“Marion was a community nurse and there was just something about her,” Carol said, reflecting on her first encounter with nursing.

“Nurses and midwives are so privileged to be part of a patient’s journey – we get to know them, their family and we learn their story. They’re entrusting you with their life.”

Carol said she wants WSLHD nurses and midwives to know that the world is their oyster – and that there are so many career opportunities available.

“It is so important that our staff know how many options available to them to progress their nursing and midwifery career,” Carol said.

“I will also be having a look at the level of education and training we are providing and how we are building career pathways.”

Carol has plans to be out and about very often, interacting with staff as often as possible.

One of Carol’s first stops since her appointment on July 1 was the aged care facility at Blacktown Hospital where staff have been subjected to some aggression and violence recently.

“There are many challenges in an aged care environment and we have to make sure that we do our best to care for and protect our patients and our staff,” Carol said.

“When I visited the ward yesterday I found a group of staff that were just so committed and compassionate.

“They care, and they’re dedicated. They just want to do a great job and we will make sure they have a safe and supportive environment around them.

“We need to listen to our staff and I plan to do this with all our nurses and midwives.”

Carol has also visited Auburn Hospital and will continue her meet and greets.

If you’d like to speak with Carol, email caroline.farmer@health.nsw.gov.au