Pauline May, HSE organ donation nurse manager, Saolta hospital group
8am I bring my children to school a few mornings a week. My son is a diabetic so I count the carbohydrates in his lunch and check his insulin before setting out. My journey takes an hour to Galway University Hospital (GUH) where I am based. I also cover Letterkenny, Sligo, Mayo and Portiuncula University Hospitals.
10am I book venues and design evaluation forms for education days in Sligo and Galway. I teach Intensive Care, Theatre and Emergency nurses how to care for a patient who becomes an organ donor. My clinical lead has requested data on last year’s activity for the group newsletter and I compile a report and photographs to send to her.
11.30am I set off for one of the hospitals to debrief nurses in ICU who recently cared for an organ donor, I spend time with each nurse discussing the case, answering questions and offering support. I arrange with the consultant anaesthetist to deliver an education session to anaesthetic staff to discuss complex scenarios.
3.30pm Back at GUH I have been allocated a stand in the foyer during Organ Donor Awareness week. In conjunction with the Irish Kidney Association, we raise awareness about organ donation and distribute donor cards. I enjoy working with the IKA representative who used to be my French teacher at school 35 years ago! I ring her to arrange the date and order donor cards and information leaflets. 4pm I prepare a presentation to deliver at a national conference. I have to speak about “A patient I will never forget”. It takes time to shape a story that is about an organ donor while maintaining confidentiality and portraying the emotional context of the moment. I take a call from a mother of a donor thanking me for the Christmas card I sent her and she tells me about her heartbreaking loneliness for her daughter. 6pm A donor co-ordinator in the HSE Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland phones telling me about a referral from an ICU in my area. I travel to the hospital to offer advice and support to nursing staff, deliver supplies and to meet with the family. It was so worth the journey. 10pm I arrive home, my son is in bed so I eat and chat with my husband and teenage daughter.
“We raise awareness about organ donation”