Working Life: Paula O’Leary, Dean, School of Medicine, UCC

Paula O’Leary, Dean, School of Medicine, UCC reveals her typical working day


I catch up on household tasks while all is quiet. Over breakfast, I listen to morning news and review the day’s diary before readying my youngest son for school. Plan the evening ahead with husband and older kids if they are about.


At UCC, proceedings get under way with a meeting of the executive of the School of Medicine which I chair. We discuss and plan everything from curriculum to activities at clinical teaching sites to research to our student body.

We work hard to ensure our future doctors master the demanding academic programme, acquire professionalism, and develop the resilience to work in complex healthcare environments at a supportive and stimulating school.


As my role is academic and clinical, I also see patients. I walk from the UCC campus to Cork University Hospital where I review a patient who presented at the emergency department with a severe allergic reaction. As a consultant immunologist, I advise the attending team on how to manage this patient.


I return to UCC to meet a visiting delegation from a Singapore medical school.

We actively strive to make links with excellent schools of medicine in universities across the globe. Learning from others, collaborations in research, and incorporation into local clinical and research practices is important.


I join the UCC grand rounds at CUH by video-conference. Expert speakers make presentations on important topics for healthcare staff. Keeping up to date is an integral component and statutory requirement for registered medical practitioners.


I meet with school and central academic administrative colleagues regarding a proposed postgraduate programme of study which the school wishes to establish. Afterwards, I review my clinical procedures schedule for my planned clinical work at CUH which I undertake one day a week. Before going home, I meet a student distressed about performance in an exam to discuss their concerns and offer guidance. Our students are greay

it’s a privilege to educate and support doctors of the future


Cooking a decent dinner is a priority. Sitting down to dinner for all present is a house rule. Regardless of the weather, I have a post-meal walk with family and chat about the day.

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