Maddy Bowers on the set of Emergency . Photo : The Royal Melbourne Hospital
On the fast track
From trauma nursing to reality TV to educator : meet the nurse who has done it all .
By Eleanor Campbell
It was a life-changing event at a local football club that led Maddy Bowers to pursue nursing . The former NSW state junior equestrian champion was just 17 when her father collapsed and had a massive heart attack during a game .
Two nurses who happened to be attending with their children performed CPR on him for two hours , keeping him alive until he was flown to hospital .
“ I was in the ward with Dad and his nurse was the best person for me at that time ,” said Maddy .
“ She made me feel so safe and answered all of my questions from the point when I first attended until we were sent home . I remember that person had such an influence on my life .
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“ It showed me how amazing this work was and I knew that I wanted to be that person to someone else .”
After witnessing her father ’ s cardiac arrest , Maddy changed her mind about becoming a veterinarian and moved to Albury to study nursing .
She then began applying for graduate programs in Melbourne , where she felt the stigma of coming from a small rural country town .
“ There was a lot of stigma about being regional and going straight down to Melbourne ; you were made to feel like you weren ’ t good enough ,” Maddy said .
“ You really do put yourselves in that box from where you ’ re saying , ‘ Oh , I ’ m just from the country ’, which is so , so wrong .”
Less than a year into her postgraduate job , Maddy was offered a coveted position as a critical care nurse at Royal Melbourne Hospital .
Coming from a place where she was constantly surrounded by people she grew up with to one of Australia ’ s largest hospitals came as a sudden change .
“ You were one of 240 nurses at once , so it went from feeling very comfortable to not knowing anyone ,” she said .
“ The pace was extremely different , the requirements and expectations were different , only purely because demand was higher .
“ In some aspects , we have more help and more resources down in Melbourne , so we can handle more than two hundred patients without concern .”
After settling in , Maddy took the pathway into resus and trauma and triage and was eventually promoted to clinical nurse specialist .
It was during this time she was approached to appear on the first season of the Nine Network ’ s popular documentary reality series Emergency .
The show , which follows the dayto-day lives of doctors and nurses on Royal Melbourne ’ s trauma frontlines , garnered over half a million viewers on its premiere night .
“ The thought of opening up my life to the public was scary ,” Maddy said .