Mary Burke Director of Care
Killure Bridge Nursing Home, Co Waterford

“My role as Director of Care is to ensure a high standard of quality care is provided to all residents in the nursing home.  I visit every resident, every day and find out if they have any issues or anything we can do to improve the care they receive.  My day can be filled with GP visits or liaising with other members of a wide-ranging multidisciplinary team.

In the acute hospital the focus is on getting the patient better and planning for discharge.  I have much more autonomy in the nursing home sector by comparison with the acute sector.  The fact that we can have such a positive influence on older person’s life is what makes our day worthwhile.

I would encourage nursing graduates to consider working in the nursing home sector as it is very progressive.  We have a very young, vibrant enthusiastic staff.  You will gain huge experience and great career diversity from working in a nursing home,”

Krzysztof Fic Staff Nurse
Woodlands House Nursing Home, Co Meath

“Prior to commencing employment in a nursing home in Ireland, I had experience working with elderly people in a medical ward in a hospital.  Patients admitted to the ward were discharged after a few days which meant I didn’t get a chance to get to know them and really support them.  

Working as a nurse in a nursing home in Ireland is different in this regard and brings a lot of responsibilities.  This varies from administering of medication and recognising any symptoms of illness to continually striving to boost residents’ wellbeing and safety.

Continuous professional development, training and education is very important within our sector. Bringing new ideas and learning from one's experience can improve our work patterns, safety and enhance residents’ quality of life.  You have an opportunity to plan, implement and develop in this setting.

I would advise anyone considering nursing employment within the nursing home sector that you need to bring varied skills, be compassionate and be capable of assuming responsibility and operating independently.  It is immensely rewarding and there is continual pursuit of excellence in this specialist field of nursing,”

Rena O’Hara Assistant Director of Nursing
Ryevale Nursing Home, Co Kildare

“Working in a nursing home in Ireland is both challenging and fulfilling. I have the opportunity to care for older persons from diverse backgrounds with complex needs. I have autonomy to use my nursing skills and competencies to help the older person reach their potential holistically in daily life, and at the same time build therapeutic relationships with the resident and their family,”

Yvonne Carpenter Director of Nursing
St Mary’s Residential Care Centre, Galway

“Gerontology nursing, for too long, has been undervalued by nurses themselves.  I work in a sector where I have independence, where my professional opinion is actively sought and listened to.  I make a difference to residents’ lives every day! My professional development within this sector has been, to date, a Higher Diploma in Gerontology and I am qualified as a Registered Nurse Prescriber.  It’s a great sector to work in,”

Michelle Curtin Registered General Nurse
Douglas Nursing and Retirement Home, Co Cork

“Since I have begun working in the nursing home sector, the reality has been in stark contrast to my preconceived ideas about the area.  I have been granted ongoing opportunities to grow and expand my knowledge and clinical skills.  I have attended many course days and hope to continue doing so in the near future.  The sector places a large emphasis on continuing development and education.  From the very beginning I can honestly say that I have experienced many situations that I would not have experienced in an acute setting, and I feel my skills are developing each day.  I am constantly acquiring new skills and competencies. 

Responsibility for a Registered General Nurse (RGN) working in a nursing home is much greater than that of a nurse within an acute hospital.  Within the nursing home environment I must utilise my decision making skills on a daily basis.  There is no typical day when working with the elderly, however there is a structured approach to the day.  My responsibilities include communication to other staff via handover, drug administration, attending to personal hygiene needs, wound care, and liaising with multi-disciplinary team members such as GPs, Public Health Nurses and home care teams.  Also dealing with families and adhering to nursing documentation policies are particularly important responsibilities.

I enjoy building lasting relationships with residents and their families to ensure the highest quality of care is given.  I take pride in the fact that I improve people’s functional and mental status, improve their living environments and quality of life,”

Sinead Beirne Person in Charge
Annabeg Nursing Home, Ballybrack, Co Dublin

“I qualified as an RGN at St Vincent’s University Hospital and previously worked in oncology for many years.  I would stress the one ‘qualification’ any person needs to work in care of the elderly is the natural ability to work with your heart.  It’s all about caring.  It’s about appreciating that you are a huge part of each residents’ day and a huge part of their life.  We make their day and let us not forget that we are working in their home so our mood, our attitude, our sense of caring, our communication skills all have a huge impact on each residents’ day.

Working in the acute sector I was completely frustrated by the red tape when trying to implement changes in practice and care.  Working in the nursing home sector allows for change.  Residents come first.

You work with your heart.  You get to know your residents and you build relationships that are very long-standing.  The bond becomes very strong – almost like they are your second family.  The people we care for are amazing people with amazing legacies and a generation from which we can learn a lot,”

Sinead Cronly Assistant Director of Nursing
Suncroft Lodge Nursing Home Co Kildare

“My original perception of gerontology was that maybe this sector would not suit my skill-set and that I personally would not professionally develop within it.  My view has completely changed.  Our sector provides a very high standard of quality care to a wide array of people who have varying complexities of medical, physical, psychological, emotional and social requirements.

My role entails assisting in the overall operational and day-to-day running of the nursing home, which includes clinical governance, ensuring adherence to the HIQA Standards, facilitation of team building and motivation, and ensuring the highest standard of person-centred care is delivered in a homely environment.

I would advise anyone interested in practicing nursing within this sector to make the move into nursing home care.  If you want to work in an professional environment with experienced and well educated staff while providing a home from home for your residents, then the nursing home sector is certainly for you,”

Marie Mc Cusker Staff Nurse
Esker Lodge Nursing Home, Co Cavan

“Nurses working in the nursing home sector in Ireland have a rewarding and challenging job. They deal with emergency situations and develop excellent decision-making skills.  They do not have the backup or support of a medical team in an emergency situation and cannot hand the problem over - they must take control and assume responsibility which is very motivating.  Nurses working in the nursing home sector develop good interpersonal skills.  They mentor, guide and teach staff on an on-going and daily basis. They encourage loyalty and good team-work.

Working in a nursing home in Ireland is an excellent choice of career.  I feel privileged to work in the sector and I would not hesitate to recommend a career in care of the elderly to any one of my nursing colleagues,”

Donna Scott Acting Assistant Director of Nursing
Brindley Healthcare

“We get to know the residents in our care and tailor a care plan around their needs – it is not a box-ticking exercise.  Some of my responsibilities - other than caring for the residents’ needs – include budgetary control, human resources, marketing, training and development, as well as health & safety.  I regularly engage with varied members of a resident’s multidisciplinary care team, such as a GP, consultant, social worker, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, public health nurse and many more in the healthcare area.

To work as a nurse in my sector you need to be proactive and think on your feet.  This is where your management skills are put into place.  Nursing homes are nurse-led.  During your nursing career you need colleagues and managers who are generous with their time, expertise and practical advice.  You get this within the nursing home sector as a manager is always available to you for guidance.  In turn, you need to be willing to ask for and accept their wisdom and guidance and be realistic about your expectations.  In time with the right support and training you are likely to exceed your own expectations,”