Tributes to Catherine Rooney on her Retirement from NMBI


Tributes have been paid to Catherine Rooney after almost 25 years with NMBI and its predecessor An Bord Altranais.

A special reception was held for Catherine at NMBI’s offices in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Director of Education, Policy and Standards, Carolyn Donohoe said: “I want to pay a warm tribute to Catherine for her dedication to the organisation over so many years, in particular in her role as librarian at an important time for the regulator.

“On behalf of her colleagues I want to wish Catherine a long and happy retirement.”

Catherine was born in London, grew up in Tipperary and lives in Dublin.

During her library career she has worked as shelving assistant, library assistant, assistant librarian/information officer and finally librarian.

We asked Catherine more about her time with the organisation:

What was your first job/career – tell us about your work life before joining NMBI/Nursing Board?

I graduated from UCD with an honours degree in History & Greek and Roman Civilisation in 1985 and studied for my Diploma in Librarianship as it was then called in the College of Librarianship Wales in Aberystwyth, graduating in 1986. I came home and could not find a job (it was the 1980s) so I left for Manchester. My first job there was as a library assistant (maternity leave cover) in the John Ryland’s University Library. In 1988 I went to London and took temporary positions in a variety of libraries through a library agency. I got a job as assistant librarian in Wimbledon Public Library in 1989 and returned to Dublin in 1990 to study for my Masters in Irish History. I worked part time during this time. I then got a temporary job as Physical Sciences Librarian in UCD from 1992 -1994. I had always wanted to work overseas so I applied to APSO (Agency for Personal Service Overseas) to work as a librarian and was sent in January 1995 to Swakopmund in Namibia where I ran a community library before coming home in March 1996. It was a seminal experience and one that I treasure. I worked as an Information Officer with Age Action Ireland for the rest of 1996.

When did you join NMBI and why?

There was no grand career plan I am afraid. I saw the job advertised and applied, it was hard to get a librarian post at this time too and I was glad to get a permanent job. I started working as librarian with the Board on the 20 January 1997.

What was your role here as librarian and tell us about the importance of that role?

I was hired as librarian which was under the auspices of the Chief Education Officer in An Bord Altranais  It was an important role as the education/training of nurses and midwives was changing radically in the 1990s, eventually leading to the establishment of the degree programme in 2002. The Commission on Nursing was set up in 1997 to examine the changing role of the profession and their report entitled ‘Commission on Nursing - Blueprint for the Future’ was published in 1998 which led to projects like the Scope of Practice/Nurse/Midwives Prescribing /Role of the Registered Advanced Nurse/Midwife Practitioner being undertaken by the Board and which have enhanced the development of the professions over the years. The library supported all of the above and much more over the years with the library staff undertaking literature reviews, providing journal articles/books/reports, along with CAS (Current Awareness Service) on a variety of topics.

Who used the library – explain how it operated?

The library was set up in the 1980s to support the nursing profession as it was then. It also supported the work of the Education Officers in the Board. Health Sciences libraries were in their infancy at this time so the library supported the profession throughout Ireland. The journal collection in its heyday was the best nursing/midwifery/allied health literature collection in Ireland and was heavily used by nurses in the supply of inter library loan article requests within the health sector libraries. 

The library was an extremely busy place with students/nurses etc coming in person to use the library resources i.e books and journals and also databases like the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL). Library staff also dealt with phone and postal requests for information from all over Ireland. Both I and my colleague did a huge amount of online searches and article photocopying. It was very physically demanding work back in the day before everything went online. It would be hard for the students today to imagine journals in hard copy where an issue or bound journal had to be taken to a photocopier to photocopy a requested article when today they are now available online in pdf format at the touch of a button.

After the library was digitised what was your new role at NMBI?

The library closed to the nurses and midwives in 2005 as the space was needed for FTP department in Fitzwilliam Square. Things had moved on considerably by this time in the provision of health library services and the HSE library service was now providing online access to both journals and databases. The physical library in NMBI was put into storage in 2016 and I then worked full time as a staff officer in the education department supporting the work of the department.

And what are you most looking forward to on retirement?

I have more time to relax and read and to take part in my adult ballet class.

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Tickets Available for NMBI Summer Series Events this June
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) Announces Introduction of Humanitarian Practice Permit
NMBI Team Observes RCSI Testing for Overseas Applicants
NMBI Assisting Ukrainian Nurses and Midwives who Wish to Work in Ireland
President and CEO Address Annual IGPNEA Conference in Waterford
Application Forms for NMBI Approval for Post-Registration Courses Announced
NMBI Marks International Nurses’ Day
NMBI President Launches updated Practice Standards for Midwives on International Day of the Midwife
NMBI Seeks Applicants for Vacancy on Education, Training and Standards Committee
Vacancies at NMBI
NMBI President Meets the Namesake She Cared for 29 Years Ago
Tributes to Catherine Rooney on her Retirement from NMBI
News Round
Board Profile: Anne Horgan, Board Member and Member of Preliminary Proceedings Committee
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