From scrubs to suits (…sort of!)

Margaret (Maggie) Ruddy

Maggie Ruddy becomes the MCH’s new associate director of nursing

Margaret (Maggie) Ruddy always knew she wanted to work with children, and as the new Associate Director of Nursing for the Montreal Children’s Hospital and the Women's Health Mission of the McGill University Health Centre, she is able to have an impact on children’s health in a whole new way.

Maggie began her career as a nurse in Birmingham, England, and was there until she jumped at the opportunity to work in Vancouver in 1991. After a brief stint at St. Paul’s Hospital, she moved on to pursue her dream of working as a pediatric nurse at BC Children’s Hospital. For the next 12 years, she worked on the surgical unit, in critical care and as a nursing educator. Then in 2004, her daughter was accepted to McGill University and Maggie decided to move the whole family to Montreal.

Montreal, a new beginning

That same year, Maggie started her career at the Montreal Children’s Hospital in the surgical unit, before moving to the critical care float team and taking on a position as a nursing resource manager. Her experience in both areas eventually caught the attention of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) who approached her in 2009 with an intriguing job opportunity: they were looking for a new head nurse.

What had initially attracted her to critical care was being able to focus all of her time and energy on one patient. And what immediately attracted her to the PICU was the team’s multidisciplinary approach to healthcare. “I immediately loved working in the PICU,” she says. “It was very humbling working with such professional, yet compassionate people. I definitely found my new home.” During this time, she also completed the International Masters of Health Leadership program at McGill University.


Leading up to the MCH’s move to the Glen site, Maggie was instrumental in preparing the entire PICU team. She was involved in everything from planning the physical space to training staff. “I think we were very successful in how we planned our move because we got everyone involved in the process,” she says. She asked her team to micro-analyze everything they did on a daily basis to make sure they were well prepared and well equipped at the Glen. “I really tried to get us as much information and exposure to the new site as possible and it really paid off,” she adds.

Settling into her new role

On December 12 last year, Maggie officially began her new role as the hospital’s associate director of nursing. “I see great opportunities in this new role, and I’m very excited about making a difference,” she says.

Maggie now has over 500 MCH nurses under her leadership and 100 more in Women’s Health, which encompasses the Royal Victoria Hospital’s birthing centre, as well as ante-partum, post-partum, and ambulatory care. “My goal in this position is to mobilize change and bring people together,” she says. “When you start learning together, you start working together, and I really want to recreate that atmosphere at the MCH and in Women’s Health.”

Without a doubt, Maggie is passionate about pediatrics, caring for kids, families, caregivers, as well as academic excellence and research. During her mandate, she hopes to move patient safety into a more central place within the hospital and would like to see the MCH become a pioneer for its approach to patient and family-centered, multidisciplinary healthcare.

She also wants nurses to feel comfortable approaching her with questions or concerns. “As a leader, people might not agree with you, but they need to trust you,” she says. Even with her extremely busy schedule, Maggie is planning on opening up her office one day a week so that people can drop by to ask her questions, or discuss new ideas, concerns or rumours. “If you don’t understand something, please come by and ask!”