Meet the nurse taking on a virtual reality challenge
On this year’s International Nurses Day, 12th of May, we meet Staff Nurse Nollaig McGill from St. Peter’s Ward in CHI at Crumlin. As well as being a front line hero, Mammy and wife, Nollaig has organised a virtual reality challenge to fundraise vital funds for CMRF Crumlin with her husband Aidan.
Since the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon has been postponed, Nollaig and her husband wanted to honour their little hero, four year old daughter Ruth, who is a heart patient in CHI at Crumlin. The virtual reality challenge stands out from others as several of the participants are also nurses in CHI at Crumlin, the Mater Hospital, St. James’s Hospital, Stewarts Care and a social worker from North-West Services.
“We had done some fundraising things in the first year and the immediate aftermath of Ruth's recovery and coming home from hospital,” says Nollaig, “the following June I did the VHI Women's Mini Marathon. It was more a personal goal because I had sat in the ICU the previous year and we were getting not great news at the time. I remember at the time thinking in my head while listening about the mini marathon on the radio, if I get through this year I'm doing it next year for Crumlin. So I did and it was a very cathartic experience.”
“We had said that when she gets to five we would think of doing something else again. So I had been saying I would do the mini marathon this year before the Covid19 kicked off. Then I was chatting to my husband that I really wanted to do something, and I just thought we are really in such a good space in our lives. We have moved on so much, and we are just in a different mind frame. We don't look to the future we look to the day. We really want to give back because you know that there's other people in those same situations all the time.”
The virtual reality challenge adheres to the government’s social distancing guidelines, and has fun at its core with two challenges. Challenge 1 is a virtual climb of the mountain Kilimanjaro by six people using their stairs at home or steps in parks, which will take place on Saturday 23rd May. While Challenge 2 is Team MTV where another six people will recreate some well-known music videos in their homes. Both challenges will share updates on Facebook and Instagram so any one who is interested can follow along.
This year’s International Nurses Day is different from previous years because there is such a public interest, and appreciation of the work of nurses especially during the COVID19 crisis. There has been a lot of pressure on nurses and health workers and changes to the way they care for sick children and adults. However, they have soared above challenges and continued to provide the same world class medical care that they have always done.
“We have good days and bad days, and we're just trying to support each other while we're all trying to come to terms with it, get used to the new policies and get updated. Quite quickly, as with everything in a hospital, things just come together and you make it work. We have had amazing support from on the ground, from the very top of the HSE and the whole way down. Everything was very clear and we just had to adapt to the new situation and manage it.”
“I think overall we are coping very well and I think it is a testament to the hospital and to our health service in general that they have really put a lot of work in. I'm very proud to be working in the health service at this time. I was always proud of my work and the health service, and I know what people do on the ground but it's just lovely to see it now being so positive.”
Usually seeing the doors of CHI at Crumlin are a relief to an anxious and worried parent whose child is sick but recently those same doors have become a worry. A fear of the unknown of trying to stay safe from the virus is plaguing parents as they put their child’s lives in the hands of the hospital.
“We're with infants so they may not understand the current situation but their families are concerned and anxious about coming into a public hospital. Understandably it's an anxious time for them anyway with a sick child and COVID19 only adds to their worries. They're coming into an environment that they're afraid to come into. That's a challenge in itself, and fair play to them. Everyone is getting on with it and it's important to give everyone and the families their dues. They're just fantastic.”
For Nollaig despite the ups and downs, there is still nothing in this world she would rather be than a nurse. To her it’s not just her job it’s who she is as a person.
“My favourite thing about nursing is the experience that you get in life both professionally and personally. They're just life experiences that you just can't get. You can only understand that if you're a nurse. It's a privilege to be part of people's lives in that way, not just the professional clinical side which I love. It's a privilege to come back here as a parent and to see that the services are as good as you wish them to be, and to be part of something like this to give back not just to Crumlin but to the other two services.”
Full details about Nollaig's virtual reality challenge and how to donate can be found here:
If you would like to set up your own virtual event to support CMRF Crumlin please email firstname.lastname@example.org