Many nurses refer to the profession as a calling. Not Brendan McCormack. “Nursing was never my first choice of career,” admits the 53-year-old Irishman. “In many ways, I am probably like most men of my vintage, in that, when I was in school, nursing wasn’t ever discussed as an option.”
In fact, McCormack got his professional start with a scholarship to study plastics engineering at a technical college in Ireland. And, simply put, the subject matter did not suit him. Failed examinations resulted in a loss of his scholarship. “The school was keen for me to repeat the subject, but I saw it as a lucky escape,” says McCormack. The following summer, the school of nursing at the local psychiatric hospital advertised for student nurses. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Today, McCormack is the head of nursing at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, responsible for the strategic and operational management and leadership of the nursing services offered, as well as collaboration agreements with a number of countries in Europe. He also serves in two other capacities – as the associate director of the newly established Centre for Person-centred Practice Research and the head of the Queen Margaret University Graduate School, where he strategically manages the advancement of doctoral education across the whole university. He also holds a variety of honorary and adjunct positions internationally, spanning three continents!
McCormack credits his wide-ranging achievements, in part, to his membership in the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI). Introduced to STTI in 1990 while attending an International Council of Nurses conference, he dutifully followed the organization and its activities. In time, he found STTI to be “an amazing platform for nurses to influence globally, to connect with like-minded nurses, and to influence social change around the world.” He was initially inducted to the Rho Chi Chapter in 2002, but transferred to the Phi Mu Chapter in 2013. His membership has included serving on the Hester C. Klopper Global Health Award selection panel, leading the working group that developed the most recent guidelines on Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing, and steering a sub-group that helped STTI gain recognition in the United Nations. Combined with his many professional successes, these activities propelled McCormack to earn a spot in STTI’s International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.
“STTI has connected me with some amazing nurses around the globe,” says McCormack. “It has also helped my career enormously through some of the workgroups I have led and participated in. I am truly grateful to STTI for those opportunities.”
Though nursing was not Brendan’s first career choice, he has found great passion in providing excellent care that truly respects the dignity of the human person. “I am a proud nurse and always will be,” he says. “I love creativity and bringing creativity into my teaching/learning and research activities. We need a lot of creativity in nursing!”