WORK­ING LIFE

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health -

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”

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