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Nursing In Ireland – An American’s Experience

Where are you from?
I am originally from Beachwood, OH, just outside of Cleveland, and recently from Chicago, IL, USA.

Can you give us a snapshot of your nursing career thus far?
I started my Nursing Career in 2016, after having graduated from DePaul University’s Master’s Entry to Nurse Practice, and have been working exclusively in Emergency Departments in Chicago and now Dublin, ever since.

When did you travel to Ireland?
February of 2018

When and why did you decide it was time to take your nursing career abroad?
My wife had been admitted to a graduate program at Trinity College Dublin, so I took my career with me when we moved to Dublin!

Why did you choose Ireland as your destination? See above.

What was the registration process like? You’re undertaking adaptation to complete your registration – what is that like? Registration with NMBI was a bit painstaking, however after all required documents had been received by NMBI, the registration process was completed within a few months. I never had any problem with calling or emailing NMBI with questions; I had answers from NMBI within 24 – 48 hours. The MCQ testing and OSCE testing went fairly smoothly as well.

How long have you been in Ireland? A year and 2 months. And how are you settling in? We have settled in quite well! Finding a place to live took some time, but we eventually found a flat in City Centre. We love living in town.

Are there a lot of differences between your home country and Ireland? There are differences, but ultimately what we have found is that Dubliners, and the Irish in general, are a warm and welcoming people.

What are you doing in order to adapt to your new environment? Getting to know the shops and shop keepers in our neighbourhood was key, as well as getting to know the geography of our neighbourhood. We love to walk, and would take weekly walks around our neighbourhood and surrounding areas in Dublin.

What is your social life like? Dublin has a pub and cafe culture, so a lot of our socializing revolves around meeting with friends for a pint or for a cuppa. What do you do on your days off? Get the food shopping done, cook meals for my next few days of shift work, read, catch up on family and friends back in the US, and take long walks. When I have long stretches of time off, or Annual Leave, we rent a car and head out of Dublin for a few days, exploring other regions of Ireland.

What part of your new life have you found the most surprising? How easy it has been to become acclimated to life in Dublin. We really love it here.

What are the positives of living in Ireland? The people are friendly and accommodating; the pubs are great craic; the food is fantastic; the city is easily accessed and navigable; the produce, fish, meat and poultry are delicious; and we love the session music.

What is your most memorable moment so far? I don’t know that there is any one moment that I could point to, but I have had many really great experiences with my patients in the last year.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and how have you managed them? Ireland, we have found, runs on “Island Time,” and why wouldn’t it? It is an island! “Nothing is urgent, and yet everything is desperate.” What I mean to say is, don’t expect answers or processes to be fast. Just know that it will get done at some point, so sit back and try to relax while you wait for that GNIB appointment, or the paperwork, or the finalisation of your NMBI registration.

You’re currently working for the Blackrock Clinic – How did the hospital help with the transition from your old life to your new life? The hospital staff and my ED Team were as warm and welcoming as we found all the people of Dublin to be.

Blackrock Clinic Hospital (BRC) was highly instrumental in my professional transition. Blackrock assumed all my NMBI/RCSI testing fees, paid for my flight to Dublin from Chicago, and offered me 6 weeks of transitional housing (which I did not need).

In addition to BRC’s assistance, I can not mention or speak highly enough of how helpful Breda and Cathee, and the entire office at CCM and their assistance and guidance from start to finish of my transition to working and living in Dublin.

How are you finding nursing in another country in general? The nurse/patient relationship is pretty much always the same, where ever you might find yourself practising. Every hospital, however, in fact every ward or unit, will have its own culture. That culture will always take time to acclimate to and become a part of, no matter where you work.

What differences are there & how are you adapting to the differences? Irish ED/A&E Nursing Scope of Practice is somewhat limited to ED Nurse Practice in the United States: Opiate medications are only administered by the consultant rather than the nurse; patient physical assessment by the nurse does not include palpation or auscultation of lung, heart or bowel sounds; conscious sedations are procedures run by an anesthetist rather than the ED consultant and ED nurse. Those are the differences that I have noted in practice.

I must add that I have only practised at Blackrock Clinic, so I am unsure of the nurse scope of practice in other A&Es in Ireland. The biggest difference, unfortunately, is the pay scale. Ireland pays its nurses quite a bit less than what nurse salaries are in the States. It was an adjustment, but I have a job for which I am grateful, a roof over my head, and a fridge full of food. All is well.

How are you finding your department in particular? The department I work in is quite good, because of the really fabulous nursing team that works hand in hand with the consultants.

What support is there and what are you colleagues like? We are a team in the ED, and I know that I could call on any one of my colleagues for assistance at work or outside of work.

What career opportunities or professional development have you found there? During the COVID19 Pandemic, I and two of my colleagues have been deployed to the ICU at Blackrock. It is an amazing learning experience, and an opportunity I am grateful for. The learning curve is steep, for this dyed in the wool ED nurse, but I find it exciting and gratifying to be doing and learning something new to expand my nurse experience and knowledge.

How are you finding the cost of living in Dublin – is it very different to home? It is expensive here, but not that different from Chicago.

What were your goals before travelling to Ireland? To land a job in an A&E in Dublin and play my mandolin in a real live session at one of the pubs here. Are you achieving what you set out to do or have these changed? I have achieved one of the above, and am working on the other. A new goal I have is to find every Round Tower, Martello Tower and High Cross in Ireland. A lofty goal, I know, but well worth the effort: it allows travel to all parts of Ireland and the opportunity to meet many on the way.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of travelling to Ireland? If one is thinking about traveling to Ireland for work, my advice would be, once one has landed the job: Take your time, ask lots of questions, listen and watch and learn how your department and your new team works. Also, have all your paperwork and down payment in hand when looking at a rental flat/apartment; the competition for living quarters is brutal.

What is your overall opinion to date? Ireland has been a good move for us. We love it here more and more every day. We are hoping for the best of health for her people during this pandemic, as we are hoping for our families back in the US, and all people of the world during this unprecedented time.

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