A man who cared

Malcolm Charles Hayden
23 March 1955–6 June 2006

Mal Hayden recently passed away after a long battle with illness. He is survived by Helen, his children Matthew and Rebekah and his two grandchildren Lachlan and Luke.

Mal was a man of passion and extremes. His advocacy for the children he cared for in his professional role and for the nursing staff he represented through his union activities was enthusiastic and dogged.

Mal completed his training at Camperdown where he earned a reputation as an extremely intelligent and skilled practitioner of the nursing art. There were also suggestions he may have been involved in certain mischief that was undertaken in and about the nurses’ home at the hospital, but most have become legend and the facts have blurred.

He worked in many areas of the hospital, including long stints in Surgery and Neuro. Mal also completed his post-basic Paediatric Certificate during this time. Mal went to RPA briefly to consolidate his adult practice in Neurology/Neurosurgery and returned to work in the Lower Todman ICU at kids, where he stayed until taking up a position at Westmead.

Mal took on the position of CNC epilepsy in the Department of Paediatrics at Westmead Hospital in March 1989. He was responsible for the management of children with epilepsy and worked closely with his friend and colleague, Neil Buchanan. Mal was involved in a number of research projects during this time and was able to publish the results. He also took a leading role in the nursing management of children with neurological problems, with a particular emphasis on the role of surgery in epilepsy.

Mal took on a newly established position at the NCH when he transferred across to the new hospital, this being CNC Biochemical Genetics. It was a measure of his intelligence and versatility that he could learn a completely new specialty and in such a thorough and timely manner.

Mal was acutely interested in the activities of the NSWNA and this interest never wavered. He started out as a delegate at Westmead Hospital and for a time was the branch secretary. He was very aware of the issues that plagued this particular branch and was an active and often outspoken advocate of the award and conditions for the nursing staff employed at Westmead.

When the paediatric services transferred to the new hospital, Mal found new campaigns to fight as a delegate and during this time was elected to the council of the NSWNA, a post that he held for several years. Mal was elected as staff representative to the board of the Children’s Hospital Westmead in 2001 after a lively campaign and held that post until December 2003 when he resigned due to ill health.

Mal will always be remembered as the activist behind the microphone on the floor at Annual Conference. His verbal exchanges with delegates with opposing views to his were often entertaining and lively. He was a vocal advocate of nursing issues in NSW and always fought the good, but not always popular, fight with gusto. Mal was granted life membership of the NSWNA in 2004.

Mal was immensely proud of his family. Helen, Rebekah and Mathew were always foremost in his mind and he always spoke glowingly of his grandchildren, Lachlan and Luke. There was always time for his friends and he was a friend without limitations. He will be missed by the many who knew him.

By Frank Ross, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Centre for Trauma Care, Prevention, Education and Research, Children’s Hospital at Westmead.