Honouring six decades of service

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The contributions of Sr Michaeleen Ahern, a familiar face to most Mater People, were recognised as she became the fourth Sister of Mercy to have a Mater Research Medal named in her honour.

‘Sr M’, as she is affectionately known has held positions as varied as surgical theatre nurse, Executive Director, Mater Private Hospital Brisbane, and community leader at the Mater Convent during the past six decades.

Her ability to provide strong leadership and direction, combined with her genuine care and compassion, reflect those qualities synonymous with teaching and mentoring. It is for these commitments that she has been honoured with the Sr Michaeleen M Ahern Medal, to be awarded at the annual Mater Research Awards for Excellence to the researcher who has demonstrated excellence in student supervision.

Sr Michaeleen joins Sr Madonna Josey, Sr Eileen Pollard and Sr Regis Mary Dunne in having a medal named in her honour, recognising the crucial role of the Sisters of Mercy in the development of Mater Research to create an institute to foster the next generation of medical research.

Sr Michaeleen’s lengthy tenure at Mater, which commenced in 1952, has given her a unique perspective on the changes in healthcare and science, while also highlighting those qualities which have remained inherent in all Mater People.

“I studied maths, physics and chemistry at All Hallows’ and I had been planning to go into medicine.

“However, I quickly learned that nursing was where I wanted to be and how I wanted to spend the rest of my life.

“To see the advances in medical and surgical techniques has been fascinating, however, perhaps what has been more rewarding is continually seeing Mater People giving themselves so generously to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients.

“It is for this genuine commitment to carry the Mission of the Sisters of Mercy into the future for which I am truly grateful.”

The 2015 Sister Michaeleen Ahern Medal for Excellence in Student Supervision was awarded to Associate Professor Jean-Pierre Levesque for his supervision and mentoring of 17 postgraduate students at Mater since 2005 .