Bronte Martin: Hero from the Hill – part two

Broken Hill’s Bronte Martin received one of the highest accolades when awarded as a Member of the Order of Australia on the King’s Birthday. Here’s part two of our chat with Ms Martin.

Balance is crucial to Ms Martin, and she credits her ‘multiple roles’ as being ‘very complimentary’ to having shaped her career, but when she is not involved in international health efforts both nationally and internationally, she likes to play field hockey and competes in the Masters National Championships.

“I have a strong community of friends here in Darwin, I’m also a big animal lover and I love to play hockey.

“I like to keep active and get out there and be amongst all walks of life. I think it’s an important part of balance.”

Ms Martin has a wealth of experience in the emergency response and trauma sector globally and she says one of the main things she has learnt is, “the host country knows best what works for them”.

“Sometimes they need some technical advice or expertise in an area that they might not have had the benefit of having experience of, or a large exposure to,” she explains.

“No matter how many resources you do or don’t have, there’s always a need for more.”

“We have the ability to bring that and help them figure out what works best for them in their solution and support them while they do that.

“No matter how many resources you do or don’t have, there’s always a need for more. And it is people working tirelessly in those environments everywhere with very finite resources and they all give extremely large amounts of themselves, and their family time, to their community in service of their community.”

During Covid, Ms Martin played a crucial part in both the national and international response to the global pandemic and she says many lessons have been learnt.

“We all knew a pandemic was a possibility one day, but perhaps very few in the community ever actually expected it to happen.”

She says, one of the biggest lessons learnt from the pandemic, both by her and health systems across the globe, is the value of preparedness.

“I think what it has shown us is that there is value in investing in preparedness and that health truly is a community wide issue that really impacts all aspects of society.

“It puts extreme pressure on a health system that is already doing a very heavy workload for populations all around the world. And Australia is no different. The ability to share lessons between countries that have similar health systems is important, also.”

We couldn’t let Ms Martin leave before asking her for some advice for any budding emergency response and trauma nurses who might be looking to get into the field.

“It’s a very specialised area, and it’s an emerging area of need. There’s a lot more work to be done in that regard.

“I’m a big supporter and advocate for the work that our rural and remote health care workforce do. They do an amazing job, and they learn lots of resilience and skills on a day-to-day basis, which lends itself well to global health settings. So rural and remote nursing is a great place to learn.”

This advice carries weight, not least because Ms Martin’s achievements have led to the honour of being named a Member of the Order of Australia. Receiving the award, “was a humbling experience,” Ms Martin told us.

“I was very honoured and humbled and privileged to be recognised for doing something that I’m passionate and dedicated to and will continue to do.

“It’s quite overwhelming. It’s really pleasing to see recognition for all the hard work, but it is also for all of the people that have supported me along the way, including my family, to get me where I am and let me do the work that I love.”

Bronte’s awards and recognitions

  • Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal, with clasp ‘Philippines – Typhoon Haiyan’ 2013; 2nd clasp ‘Vanuatu – Tropical Cyclone Pam’, 2015.
  • Australia Active Service Medal, 2010.
  • International Coalition Against Terror clasp, 2010.
  • Australian Service Medal, 2004.
  • Defence Long Service Medal, 2020.
  • Active-Duty Family Member, 2006.
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Service Medal, 2010.
  • Southern Regional Commander’s Commendation – Afghanistan, NATO, 2010.
  • Weary Dunlop Prize, Australasian Military Medicine Association, 2011.
  • Commendation, Royal Australian Air Force, 2005.
  • Harry Winston Trophy, Royal Australian Air Force, 2005.
  • South Australian Nursing Excellence Award, 2004.

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