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Back to school

Anyone who has ‘followers’, be they students, trainees, administrative staff, or an under-five camogie team, would benefit from guidance on how to lead and support them It has been a pretty dull year with not too much going on and the workload has been very light, so I decided it would be an excellent time…

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Trials of the pregnancy questionnaire

I’m sleeping like a baby after my portacath was removed, but the questions around pregnancy before the procedure were irritating For six years I haven’t been able to sleep on my right side. I didn’t think it mattered that much. I have a whole left side and a back to lie on, so wanting a…

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The burning issue of physician wellbeing

Being able to spot the signs of burnout is easy, or is it? Miles and miles of print have been devoted to discussing doctors’ mental health. Endless studies citing percentage rates of burnout and suicide and addiction and awfulness. We should do something about it. Of course we should. But the difficulty lies in the…

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Beware of the dark side

Interactions on social media can be a diverting distraction, but they also have the potential to be lethal Many years ago, I was involved in an accident on the road between Killarney and Tralee. It was one of those cartoon-accordion pile-ups, with four or five vehicles scrunching into each other in slow motion after the…

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Life’s many ports of call

I learned valuable lessons for self-isolation during the trip of a lifetime In recent weeks, a long-distance sailing trip I took with my parents came to mind as a result of the challenges we now face. In 1995, my mum and dad retired. They were 50 and 54 respectively, positively ancient by my reckoning at…

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Where dreams don’t come true

Far from a dreamland, Disneyland can be a nightmare for parents I suffer from intrusive thoughts, especially when I am anxious. For years, I have found it difficult to stand on the platform of an underground train station, as the image of suddenly pushing a small child under the oncoming train can be very distressing.…

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The hidden costs of ‘free’ education

Unless there is significant change, studying medicine will continue to be a path only available to middle-class students Studying medicine is a middle-class activity. It has always been this way. I have noticed recently while researching pioneering female doctors of the early 20th Century that most of them came from well-to-do, mostly Protestant families, with…

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Lessons learned over a life-altering decade

End of an era lists are generally not my thing, but the last 10 years has brought plenty to contemplate I’ve never been one for the retrospective nostalgia that seems to dominate media streams whenever we come to the end of a year, or decade, or millennium, or whatever other arbitrary junction in time that…

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A list of sixty-eight, and counting

Irish medicine must remember, and celebrate, our female superheroes As part of her homework recently, my 11-year-old daughter was told to come up with a brand-new superhero. She decided that she wanted to be a girl whose superpower was saving the planet. My suggestion of GretaGirl was met with a withering look. “It has to…

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Medical conferences can be life-changing experiences

Attending and speaking at this year’s dotMD conference left me walking on air I am aware of ‘imposter syndrome’, where a person feels out of place, under-qualified, unworthy of their position in the world. I have to admit that I had never really suffered from it, blessed as I am with a bulletproof sense of…

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