Morning routine goes like this: alarm, shower, decent breakfast, say goodbye to my husband Paddy, leave home in Glasnevin, head for work in the car, park up to walk the last leg along the Royal Canal to the hospital in Dorset St, where I make a beeline for the changing room to don my scrubs.
In the changing room, I meet two health carers, Bernie and Caroline, stalwarts of Dorset St. I first met them when I was a student nurse in DCU and they were on the cleaning staff in the Mater. Now they’re carers and a great asset to the nursing team.
I head for theatre where I meet the surgical nursing team and Prof Joseph Butler, consultant spine surgeon, who specialises in complex robotic surgery. I fill him in on any patient updates, as he splits his time between the Mater Private and Mater public. It’s very beneficial to be in theatre while he is operating because I’m better equipped to answer patient queries post-surgery. My main role is to provide pre-operative and post-operative spine care.
I talk to a patient who is recovering following a lumbar discectomy, which is the removal of herniated disc material that is causing nerve compression. It’s one of the more common procedures that we do.
Between surgeries, I pop up to the ward to see how post-operative patients are faring and to organise tea and toast if they feel like eating. I have my own lunch in between, in a small tearoom, socially distanced from colleagues.
On non-surgical days, we run a clinic, where patients are assessed by Prof Butler. We have a new facility in Cherrywood where we do a lot of imaging – MRIs, X-rays, scans. Patients who attend Cherrywood can see a consultant on the same day, so it’s a more streamlined service. We also do wound reviews.
I throw on a podcast while walking back along the canal to my car. My job doesn’t involve shift work which means I have been able to resume my passion – playing camogie with Na Fianna, my local club in Glasnevin. Dinner may or may not be ready when I get home. My mum Áine is a great woman for homemade dinners and I reap the benefits.