Founders Medal honors a life of listening, teaching and leading
Roy Martin listened when a cancer nurse told him she needed time away from dying patients and their grieving families.
“I tried to help her supervisors understand that far from being unfit for duty, she was taking responsibility for her own mental health,” said Dr. Martin, MDiv, DMin, who has served as Assistant Professor in Medical Ethics and Director of the program in Ethics and Professionalism at UNT Health Science Center since 2001.
His understanding of and respect for the unique contributions of each health care professional are reflected in a long, distinguished career that led him to UNT Health Science Center and then to the forefront of its interprofessional education initiatives.
He was awarded the UNTHSC Founders’ Medal during the recent Commencement ceremony.
“I want to thank the university for the honor of working here,” he said. “This is a place where people listen to each other. They listen not only to patients but to each other as professionals, because what’s important is not just knowledge but what you do with that knowledge.
“In interprofessional education, the goal is to let the patient know that we health care professionals are not in opposition but in collaboration,” Dr. Martin said. “It’s our duty to provide enormous comfort and reassurance, especially when our technology and treatment is limited.”
And collaboration also means helping one another. The cancer nurse who sought Dr. Martin’s help was allowed to take less emotionally draining duties. Eventually, she returned to her original ward, refreshed and stronger, both because of a respite assignment and the sense that she worked in a hospital where she was truly valued. Two years later she was made head nurse of that unit.