Working life: Orla O’Brien, chief operations officer, Children’s Hospital Group

I have an early start so I like to wake my three girls — 12-year-old twins Rachel and Keelin and 14-year-old Ellie — before heading to my office based on the campus at St James’s Hospital. 

Meetings dominate the daily agenda as we edge closer to finally having a world-class new children’s hospital. The project was granted planning permission in April. 

My role involves working with the development board on the design of the new hospital and working with my colleagues planning and overseeing the integration of the three children’s hospitals — Crumlin, Temple St and Tallaght — in advance of the move to the new children’s hospital on a shared campus with St James’s.


I touch base with colleagues and check in with the hospitals before heading into a two-hour meeting of the integration executive committee, comprised of representatives of the CHG and senior members of each of the three children’s hospitals. 

The committee meets fortnightly with a full agenda on integration and business-as-usual items.


I switch into project mode for a four-hour meeting with the design sub-committee. We pore over the details to make sure the design of our modern contemporary hospital delivers the best for our staff and patients.


My next meeting is campus shared services, where we are overseeing the development of potential services which can be shared with St James’s such as logistics, facilities management and catering.


As planning permission includes two satellite centres, at Tallaght and Connolly Hospitals, I grab a coffee and get the Luas to Tallaght to meet the CHG clinical director for a meeting on operational issues.


After a group management team meeting to review our programme, a couple of us try go for a run which is great for keeping the team spirits up!

I catch up on emails, and plan for my next day before heading home to my husband Conor and the girls. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without his support.

When I can, I love to run and play some golf. I try to get home to Mitchelstown to see my parents as often as I can.

While my job is very busy, it’s a privilege to be involved in this project and to be part of something that will serve future generations of children.

* Orla O’Brien, chief operations officer, Children’s Hospital Group (CHG)


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