Ellen Martin graduated from the PEI School of Nursing in 1983 which means she has been practicing Registered Nursing for 30 years. Upon first impression, you would never know this energetic and youthful lady’s career spanned that many years. Her inspiration to become a nurse came from her love of Geriatrics. She had worked at the Garden of the Gulf Nursing Home when she was young doing housekeeping. Her mother was a nurse and one of her older sisters as well.
Upon graduation from the PEI Nursing School, Ellen started out working at the Eric Found Centre (now called the PE Home) on the MS unit (geriatric and palliative). She then moved to Summerside where she started working at Wedgewood Manor. She was the supervisor there for five years.
After her time spent working at Wedgewood Manor, Ellen made the choice to go back to the hospital setting and obtained a casual position at Prince County Hospital for 16 years doing medical, psychiatry & restorative/rehab for seniors. Then, six years ago a part-time position became available in Outpatient Addictions at PCH. She moved into this position where she performs education, counseling and withdrawal management for patients suffering with addictions.
Ellen understands addiction having grown up with an alcoholic father who achieved seven years of sobriety before he passed away. She says she believes she is good at her job because he has empathy, understanding and is non-judgmental when it comes to people suffering with addictions.
“I am still learning every day. This subject is extremely challenging for clients and staff but it is very rewarding. I feel I can be that voice of hope. People need that.”
“The future of nursing is very bright. There are so many different fields and options within the profession. For me, nursing was a calling and I believe this is true for most nurses. You put in your time working weekends, holidays and shiftwork but it’s all a part of it. It’s a challenging life, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The patients I work with need an advocate and it’s an honour for me to be there for them.”
Outside of her work as a part-time RN, Ellen also enjoys running, gardening amongst her many flower beds and painting. She has “dabbled” in painting the last ten years but recently started doing more and took a few lessons from popular Halifax artist, Cluny Maher. Ellen says having the ability to do artwork is a gift, but a large part of her development as an artist is continuing to work at it on a daily basis.
“It’s like nursing in a way. It’s a lot of hard work but if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it’s all worth it. Life is short. You may as well enjoy it!” says Ellen.
Injuring two disks in her spine last year and not being able to work or do much else for five months, has given Ellen a new appreciation for everything – her hobbies, her work and her family. She and her husband, Bill live in Summerside and have two adult daughters – Heather, 24 who has her Masters in English and is currently continuing in her studies in Creative Writing; and Blythe, 27 who is now a Physiotherapist at the Physio Centre in Summerside. Ellen also comes from a family of three brothers and six sisters whom she considers her best friends.