Working Life: Deirdre Quaid, acting director of nursing

8.30am: I like to get in early to West Kerry community hospital to give myself time to respond to any exigencies that have arisen overnight, such as maintenance issues.

I am responsible for overall maintenance on the site, which, in addition to our 46-bed community nursing unit, also houses a primary care centre and a mental health unit. I try to touch base with the night staff before their shift ends at 8.45am.


I make an effort to meet all of the residents every day, beginning around 9am. We have longstay, respite, acute care and palliative care beds. Anyone I miss out on in the morning, I meet with later in the day. I also spend time meeting with the family of very ill patients. I try to be back at my office by 10.30am to catch up with paperwork, phonecalls and emails.


I get out and about again. If it’s a Wednesday morning, I attend Mass and serve Communion to the residents along with the priest. On other mornings, we have music sessions or a sensory therapist might come in. I also check in with the kitchen and the laundry staff before lunch to see if any issues have arisen.


I head for the post office with post and to the medical centre with lab specimens staff have taken from patients. I try to head home for lunch.


I use the afternoon to meet with the various managers including the two clinical nurse managers and the chef and we discuss any new procedures or policies. All our protocols are based on HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority) standards and we discuss if we are meeting those standards. We also carry out in-house satisfaction surveys and various audits. We have a tremendous staff here.


Time is given over to looking at staffing allocations. One afternoon a month, there is a residents’ council meeting where any concerns can be raised with an outside facilitator.


I head for home and try not to bring work with me. I love to spend time reading or walking the beach in Ventry.


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