Working life: Niamh Lynch, paediatrician

The alarm goes off about four times before I get up. 

My husband is away a lot of the week, so I have a bit of organising to do around my two young girls, Aoibhe (7) and Elsie (5). I walk them to school and bring the dog so she gets a walk in as well, before I head home and get ready for work.


I arrive at the Bons Secours Hospital, Cork, where I go through paperwork before heading onto the children’s ward, where I do a round with the nurses and junior doctors. They bring me up to speed on all my patients.

Children come in with anything from a chest infection to newly diagnosed cancer. The ward has 19 beds and GPs can refer anytime night or day.

Myself and consultant paediatrician Dr Sami Ahmed take it in turns to be available for on call every second day. Sometimes I get called in at night if a patient is very sick,

I also work on call every second weekend, doing a ward round from 9am to noon and being available for emergencies.


I chat with the team about the kids in our care and decide what tests and treatments are needed. Most of the kids get better very quickly. But some of the very sick children with a serious diagnosis are transferred to Crumlin or Temple Street hospitals in Dublin, with which we have a link.


After the ward round, I head to my rooms in the Cork Clinic on the Western Road where I see outpatients, referred by their GP. Some of them have longstanding issues such as asthma, epilepsy or ongoing headaches.

I spend a good bit of time with the parents listening to their concerns. I try to put children at their ease. Going to the doctor can be scary for the smallies. I see 10-15 outpatients every day.


I aim to leave for home around this time. I have a really good childminder and by the time I arrive, she has the girls fed and watered.

It leaves us free to do some nice stuff together like swimming or going for walks or horseriding.

It’s important to give my brain a rest from thinking about work, because most of the time my patients are never far from my mind.

* Niamh Lynch, a paediatrician with a special interest in neurology, works in Bon Secours Hospital, Cork


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