Chuir daltaí Na hIdirbliana an ceoldrama ‘Back to the 80s’ ar siúl. Thosaigh an cleachtadh i mí Mean Fomhair. Bhí ról agam mar dhalta sa scoil. Bhí mé ah damhsa agus ag canadh. Chaitheamar gach Aoine ag cleachtadh. Bhí an ceoldrama ar siúl ón 29ú lá de Samhain go dtí an céad lá de Nollaig. Chosain na ticéid ocht euro do dhaltaí nó páistí agus dó dhéag euro do dhaoine fásta. Bhí na ticéid ar díol sa scoil gach lá. Bhí an halla plódaithe gach oíche. Bhraith mé neirbhíseach. Bhí an ceoldrama bunaithe ar dhéagóirí a bhí ar scoil sna hochtóidí. Bhí an t-atmaisféar dóchreidte. Fuaireamar bualadh bos tar éis gach gníomh. Ag an sos bhí an siopa ar oscailt. Dhíol sé seacláid, milseain, agus criospaí. Chríochnaigh an ceoldrama ar a leathuair tar éis a deich. Bhí me áthasach. D’fhoglaim mé an tabhacht a bhaineann le obair foirne. Bhain mé an- taitneamh as mar bhí páirt ag gach duine ann. Bhí mo chlann bródúil asam.
As part of Transition Year, every student is encouraged to partake in some aspect of community care. For some people this was working in playschools, assisting the elderly or disabled in a community or volunteering in a local club. I have been a member of Irish Water Safety for several years, participating in water safety weeks, competitions and lifesaving lessons, so I decided to complete my community care by teaching this. The Lifesaving lessons are ran every Sunday for around ten weeks at a time for anyone aged 11 and older. There is a series of levels you must complete before you can teach and as I had just completed these levels I began teaching in Seotember. I taught a class of 16 who’s ages ranged from 11 to 16. They were in the level Endurance which is focuses on survival skills and building stamina so most of my time was spent perfecting strokes and techniques. Endurance is a unique level in Lifesaving as it is taught through a hour long class all in the water whereas other levels spend half an hour on theory and half in water. The class I took after Christmas for another ten weeks was far more theory based. My pupils were very new to Irish Water Safety so this level involved a lot of basic skills like CPR and rescues. I preferred teaching this class to the endurance because I had a smaller group of only 5 this time and it was much more rewarding to teach theory and rescues equally rather than just swimming. I will definitely continue to teach after transition year has finished as I love spending time with people and teaching them really important skills that could become very useful for them.
The final 3 days of the course seemed to pass much more quickly than the first two. I think this was partly because I had less of an interest in the talks that were being held and also because the majority of the day’s finished early and started late due to talks being cancelled. We got to see a blood test being taken from a double lung transplant recipient, followed by the transplant co-ordinator explaining the process involved in transplants. We also took eye tests in the ophthalmology department and visited radiology and the overcrowded E.D.
Some of the most memorable talks from the remaining days also included an intern explaining her route to medicine and meeting with speech and language therapists. Unfortunately the morgue talk was one of the ones that was cancelled and I would have really liked to see that. All in all, I found the programme an absolutely amazing insight into hospital life and I feel very lucky to have been given such an opportunity.
The second day of the programme seemed far more suited to my interests than the first, although I did enjoy the talks on nursing. It began with a psychiatrist coming to speak to us. She began talking about her journey to psychiatry – she first had to complete 5 years of studying medicine before taking placements and internships in hospitals and then choosing to specialize in psychiatry. As a lot of us struggled to differentiate a psychologist from psychiatrist she explained the differences to us. A psychiatrist is a doctor of medicine and is qualified to both diagnose and describe while a psychologist did their degree in psychology and deals more with the counselling and therapy side of things. She also described her day to day work in the hospital. She discussed different mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and addictions and how a patient with these would typically be treated. She said the Mater has 20 beds in the psych. ward and these would be occupied by suffers of severe forms of these illnesses. These people are admitted once they are deemed a danger to themselves and/or to other people. When one of the other students taking the course asked if someone with bipolar would only be in for short stints as the depression stage isn’t constant, she explained that they are also a risk in their manic stages which can last up to two weeks. They often believe they are invincible so will intend on doing crazy things like jumping out of a window because they believe they can fly. I am really interested in this area and this talk made me strongly consider it as a career option.
After psychiatry there was a talk on engineering and physics in a hospital. For this we went up to the X-Ray department of the hospital and met with a woman in one of the presentation rooms. She said she began her career studying physics which she really enjoyed. She said doing a physics degree enables you to think outside the box and it makes you very good at problem solving which also really appeals to me. She described the difference between the roles of a physicist and an engineer by saying if both were to look at an electrical component the engineer would know the function of every wire and device and would be able to fix a problem while a physicist mightn’t have a clue what the different parts do but they will be thinking of more efficient ways to design it or improve it. We also talked about different machines used in hospitals and we even watched a clip from Grey’s Anatomy where they used a machine in surgery. The main advantage with these machines is that they only require tiny incisions to be made on the patients body through which the surgeon can insert miniscule tools like a camera and scalpels etc. This means that the recovery time for the patient might only be a couple of days whereas with regular surgery it could take several weeks and the patient would be left with a scar for the duration of there life which could be half a foot or more in length. Although they will still have a scar after having an operation with the new machine, it will only be millimetres in length. The physicist also talked to us about the different X-Ray machines in the hospital like the CT scanner, MRI and smaller machines used for isolated X-Rays of smaller body parts like hands. She told us about the dangers of these machines and precautions put in place to minimize these. We learned that a doctor will only get X-Rays for patients when the benefit outweighs the risk. In the Mater they are lucky to have a CT scanner in the E.D. so a critical patient would not have to travel or wait long to be treated. I found this talk really interesting and it made me realize the interest I have in physics and engineering and although I still prefer psychiatry, this career option is a close second.
Afterwards we headed back to our classroom for a talk on social work specifically in a hospital setting. Three people came in to give this talk but it was mostly one of them who did the talking. She told us about how she got into social work and the placements she had to do. She described cases a social worker in a hospital would have to deal with on a day to day basis. It sounded like very hard and tiring work as you were counselling people who had drug addictions or were homeless or people who had lost loved ones. She gave us a sheet with different scenarios of cases that are similar to what they’d have to deal with and we had to come up with ways they could be helped, for example get them in touch with organizations specific to their needs that will help them through their situations. I don’t have interest in pursuing this area for a career but I have a new found respect for anyone who does.
For the physiology talk we were taken through the hospital to meet with a physio therapist who would help patients in the hospital with rehab from injuries they sustained or to improve their mobility. In the hospital they have a special type of pool to assist with recovery. A lot of the other students on the programme were very interested in this area and most of the 40 minutes or so that we were with her was spent asking questions about the career. I didn’t find this talk particularly interesting because I have never had much of an interest in physio but I know the people who did really enjoyed it. This talk was followed by lunch in the canteen.
After lunch we had audiology where we completed different hearing tests and got to try on hearing aids. This was a really interactive and unforgettable experience and one of the most enjoyable from the programme. We were warned numerous times to be prepared for our next talk which was pathology as a lot of people tend to faint or feel sick. We got to see how blood tests are performed and we got to see actual blood and bags of plasma. As expected, two people had to step out due to feeling unwell but I don’t think the heat of the labs was any help because I also felt a bit warm and dizzy even though I’m not scared of blood. This was the last talk of the day.
Tuesday was definitely one of if not my most favourite day. This was because I had a strong interest in psychiatry and physics and I also really enjoyed the audiology.
The Introduction to Hospital Life (IHL) Programme is a work experience programme run by the Mater Misercordiae Hospital for Transition Year students. The week of our course (12th – 16th March) there was 12 students in total taking part in the course. On the first day we met our co – ordinator Brid and she brought us to our classroom which was in the centre for nursing education in a building across the road from the Eccles Street entrance of the hospital. This classroom was our base for the week and a lot of the talks were held there.
Our first talk was in the classroom and was giving by one of the Mater’s many experienced nurses. She told us all about her experience both in college and seeing as it was our first time there she told us a lot about the hospital and how it’s run.We then had a break where Brid brought us to the staff canteen in the hospital and we could have coffee, tea or water for free. I thought it was really nice to have this break as it was the first chance the group had to chat since the course began. Unfortunately, this was the only day we got to have a break as the other days were all very fast paced and packed with different talks in loads of different departments. After that we went to another classroom in the centre that was the IT room. There was about 20 computers in the room and we all got to sit at one. The man giving the talk was really nice and funny. His role in the hospital was to make sure all the computers and computer systems in the hospital were functioning well. Even though the topic of the talk was quite boring, Colm made it interesting by letting us look at X – Rays and by telling us stories about his time working in the hospital.
Lunch was next and every day we got between 40 minutes to an hour for this. We had our lunch in the same canteen as we had break. There were dinners available there but we were mostly forced into having chips with curry sauce or gravy. I didn’t enjoy them and I thought it was quite overpriced. I would have liked to have been allowed go to the Starbucks, Costa or Café Sol that were in the hospital but I understand that Brid wanted to keep us together so no one could get lost.
After lunch we had a talk on spinal injury nursing. This talk was done in the room that from the outside of the hospital you can clearly see. It has a large glass window that juts out from the building and from the inside there is incredible views of north Dublin including Croke Park and Mountjoy Prison. The nurse showed us all the different braces that someone who incurred a spinal injury would have to wear, sometimes for a duration of 6 months. She told us about difficulties they would experience that we would never think about, for example they would not be able to brush or wash their hair for long periods of time and would have to look at the same plain ceiling for days on end. She also showed us a device they use to turn the patients in bed. They have to do this to prevent boils on the skin that happen due to lack of movement and would leave the patient with damaged, sore skin for the rest of their life. The device acts like a clamp on the bed and it takes a few nurses to use it. They turn the patient so that they are facing the floor and this would have to be done every two hours. Sometimes the patient would be left in this position, experiencing the sensation that they are about to fall, for another few hours before they are turned. I thought this was really enlightening and upsetting because it would be awfully depressing for a patient.
The next and final talk of the day was cardio thoracic nursing which is the nursing of heart and lung transplant patients. The Mater Hospital Dublin is the national centre for heart and lung transplants so the staff are very experienced in this area. This talk was interesting but the lady didn’t use any aids or objects to convey her points so I found myself disengaged for a lot of it. This was also probably due to it being the last talk of the day.
I heard about this course through Mr Doherty in November. It is run by the ESB during Engineers Week for aspiring engineers or students who think this career may suit them. As part of the application process we had to submit our Junior Cert results for maths and science and an 100 word paragraph on why we wanted to take part in the course. I got the acceptance email a few weeks later and I was delighted. They ran the same course in November and they said there was 424 applicants then for only 20 places so I was very lucky to be accepted. The course began on the 26th of February and was held in ESB offices on South Lotts Road in Ringsend. Out of the 19 other participants there were only 5 or so that weren’t from Dublin or the surrounding counties. I think I was the furthest from home along with another girl from Galway who I became friends with. The first day of the programme we talked a lot about what engineering is, seeing as most of us had only a vague idea. We were put into groups to help us bond and I thought everyone was really nice and friendly. We had to come up with ideas to improve the ESB. Most of these were mainly revolved around increasing the use of renewable and sustainable electricity and I found it very interesting to hear about the work the ESB already do in this field. Lunch, snacks and drinks were provided during the day so we didn’t leave the building until it was time for us to go home.
On the Tuesday we were supposed to be going to Turlough Hill, one of the ESB’s main powerplants in Ireland. However, because it was situated high in the Wicklow Mountains we were unable to travel there due to the high volume of snow at that time. Instead we went to Poullaphuca which was a big hydroelectric station also in Wicklow and we got a tour of that for the day. On the bus on the way back to the office the leaders told us that the course would be going ahead as normal on Wednesday as the weather warning at the time was only amber but when I woke up on Wednesday morning it had developed to a red warning for Dublin which would affect transport out of the city so I had to get the first train home. I thought that by doing that I had missed one day of the course but when I checked my emails the final three days had been cancelled and are to be rescheduled for the coming weeks.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 2 tsp fresh root ginger (grated)
- 450g sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped)
- 1/2 red chilli (seeded and finely chopped)
- 1 low salt chicken or vegetable stock cube
- 1 tbsp fresh corriander (chopped)
- 250ml coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- Heat the oil in a heavy based large saucepan. Lightly fry the onion, garlic and sweet potato in the sunflower oil. Add the ginger, chilli and fry for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the stock and then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the liquid has slightly reduced and all of the vegetables are completely soft, stirring occasionally.
- Pour the coconut milk into the saucepan, add the chopped coriander and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Season to taste.
- Blend with a hand blender until smooth. To serve, ladle into a bowl and garnish with coriander on top.