I went to Presentation in Dungarvan, as a boarder for 3 years(1978-1981) then onto Lismore, Co. Waterford (1981-1983)where i went as a day pupil.
I went to Kevin Street DIT for over 6 years and got a Fellowship Part I in Biomedical Sciences. I then went onto Coleraine,Co Derry for 2 years part time and got a Masters in Biomedical Science. .
I have worked in lots of places! I trained in St Vincents, Elm Park, Dublin then onto Naas Hospital for 9 years. During my time in Naas, I took a career break and went to Australia. I really wanted to work in a Childrens Hospital so I spent time (in between travelling) in the Royal Childrens Hospital, Melbourne. I left Naas and moved to the big smoke and worked in Crumlin Children’s Hospital for 9 years. After Crumlin, our family (of 1 small boy) moved to Cavan (where 3 more children joined the family!) and I worked in Cavan General Hospital for 5 years. My last stop is St John’s Hospital, Limerick where I have worked for the last 9 years.
My job title is Specialist Medical
Favourite thing to do in science: Looking down the microscope!
I am a fun loving working Mum with a love of learning and all things new
I live in a small village on the Tipperary/Clare border with my husband, 4 children and our dog. I am a member of a small ladies choir which I love. Our house is very busy as the children are very involved in sport, music and dancing so there is always some activity to go to! I go to Yoga class once a week and in between times, I try to practise, which the kids think is hilarious. I love all types of food, healthy and unhealthy. My favourite food is peppered steak from an amazing butcher’s in Limerick and is actually everyone’s favourite, including Paddy, our dog. I love all types of music and some of my favourites are Kodaline, REM, U2, Coldplay, Tom Waits and Ed Sheeran. Trad is also top of my list and I went to the Fleadh in Ennis recently and had a blast!
I keep track of the quality of the Laboratory service and the small hand held devices that the Medical staff use
My job is a quite a combination job! I am a bit like Customer service but I also do what we call “bench work” which is literally-yes-working at the bench!
So on a daily basis, I do the Customer Service bit .I look at the results that doctors and nurses get with the small hand held devices and I also look at the overall Laboratory service and if there are any complaints from Patients/doctors or nurses or anyone who uses the Laboratory service, I try to look at what happened and see can I improve or change anything that would make the quality better.
The “bench-work” involves all sorts of things but generally I measure different chemicals in blood samples. There are 2 ways we can measure things in blood. The first way is to take some blood out of your vein and put it into a bottle and send it directly down to our Laboratory. The second way is to use what works like a “giant pin” to prick a small hole in your fingertip and then use that tiny blood drop to measure different chemicals using the hand held devices at the side of your bed in Hospital.
I am in charge of organising training for the people who use the hand held devices. They are referred to as “Point of care” devices or instruments. When I say instruments, my kids always laugh as they think of guitars and drums…..
I also deliver quality control samples regularly to the people who use the hand-held devices to check that they are working properly- a little bit like your NCT on your car I guess. These quality control samples (“dummy” samples) are liquid samples that have chemicals similar to what we have in our blood. This shows that the device is working well and that the person using the device is able to use it properly.
My Typical Day
Lots of sitting down and getting up, labelling up bottles of blood, walking, moderate amount of typing and some computer work
I usually start the day by looking at my emails. I might have an inquiry about the next training session for Nurses so if a new Nurse starts, he/she will need to be trained to use the small hand held devices.
If there are some other staff members off on holidays, I will process some of the blood samples that come down from the wards or clinics. This involves checking that the blood sample is the right amount for the test that has been requested by the doctor.
I also look at blood films (which is NOT movies!). This part I love-a small drop of blood is spread out on a glass slide and I look at all the different cells in the body under a microscope.
Other simple things such as keeping control of stock and emptying bins have to be done too because the Laboratory is a bit like a kitchen -you have to make sure everything is kept tidy and that nothing runs out when you need it. But of course that doesn’t always work out.
And then there’s dealing with the break-downs!!! It can be computers, instruments or even the electricity or water supply .
What I'd do with the money
I would donate it to my two boys’ secondary school
I would like to spend the money to organise a trip to Belfast to visit W5. W5 is an amazing interactive discovery centre . It encourages you to ask “who, what, where, when and why” for lots of scientific concepts. Both children and adults alike find it an amazing place.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Humerous, fair and patient
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Neil Young-singer and currently Coldplay (but didn’t manage to get tickets..)
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Safari in Africa on my honeymoon
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I was in boarding school for 3 years and was bored in choir so I sang completely out of tune….got in a lot of trouble for that.
What was your favourite subject at school?
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Watched an open-heart operation when I worked in the Childrens Hospital, Melbourne
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
My older brother,Sean
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Become a lecturer overnight; win money to bring my family and kids skiing; have a holiday home by the sea that my mum and the rest of my brothers/sisters could use.
Tell us a joke.
Why did the skeleton not go to the ball? Because he had no-body to go with…!