Maura OSullivan with her daughter Ciara O'Sullivan (RPN)
We mentioned in a previous ezine that we hoped every month this year to be able to share a story from one of your colleagues in the system. We wanted to do this to shine a light on the compassion, skill and commitment of nurses and midwives in Ireland in the context of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. If you have a story that you would like to share please send it along with pictures to email@example.com. Thanks to Maura from Limerick for sharing her story this month.
Our interview with Maura
Why did you choose a career in nursing/midwifery?
I always wanted to work in a caring capacity. My mother was a nurse and midwife so I guess part of me wanted to follow in her footsteps. I, however, wanted to work in the area of intellectual disabilities. I worked with people with special needs during a summer job and I loved it. I loved being able to make a difference to someone’s life. I loved seeing a smile from someone with even the most profound intellectual disability. I always looked at what people could do rather than what they couldn’t. I felt privileged to be working with these wonderful people.
Why do you think it’s important to celebrate the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife? What message would you like to send in this context to your team or your profession in general?
It certainly is wonderful to mark this occasion. Nurses are an integral part of the health system. I have learned so much from the many nurses I have worked with from different disciplines over the years. We all have different talents and areas of expertise. For this I would like to say “thank you dear colleagues”. To our team…..I appreciate and value your commitment, dedication, and the care with which you go about your work every day.
How have you made a difference as a nurse/midwife?
I hope I have! I certainly try to make a difference. I like to treat people as I would like to be treated myself or have a member of my family treated. Kindness doesn’t cost anything.
Do you have a memory in your job that really stands out?
I have many wonderful memories. I guess two really stand out.
When I was awarded the winner of the Director of Nursing category at the NHI Care Awards in 2017. To say that I was proud was an understatement! I was proud to be a nurse. I was proud to be an RNID working in the area of gerontology. I was proud of our small nursing home in Co Limerick and of our wonderful team.
Another occasion that made me super proud was when my daughter graduated from UHL last year with the BSc in Mental Health Nursing. My mother, a retired nurse was with us at the ceremony. Three generations of nurses having trained in different disciplines. My daughter is now also working with me at the nursing home.
Has COVID -19 made a difference to nursing? Are there any positives that you will take with you?
I think that COVID-19 has made a difference to the lives of everyone around the world. It has been hard going. It has been stressful, frightening, tiring, but it has also made us realise what we have. For me, I have an amazing team of people that have gone above and beyond to ensure that our residents’ physical and mental wellbeing is priority. The camaraderie which was always present in our little St Gobnaits family has been strengthened. We have made sure to still enjoy life. We continue to ensure that we remain positive and have a good old laugh along the way!
If you could, what advice would you give to 19 year old you, starting out?
Believe in yourself. If you feel something isn’t right don’t be afraid to speak up. Know that you are making a difference.