Alumni Profiles

Meet Our Alumni

A lot has changed since walking the cobbles in front of the Campanile in Trinity College since my graduation in April 2012. The reality of moving abroad to seek employment  opportunities dawned on me when I was in my gown and cap getting my photos taken with the class I had spent the previous five years with. Crossroads are scary things!

Leaving my mother’s apron strings was difficult. I definitely delayed my start date. I knew what a great opportunity Great Ormond Street would be, however I was not ready to give up familiarity, or my car. When I ventured into the world of London living, I soon realised with so many Irish around, I was never too far from home.  Now here in London, being part of a team and gaining experience makes me feel confident with my decision.

I am one of the lucky ones, sharing this opportunity with three of my classmates as we are all on the same ward in Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.  We all share the same highs and lows and embrace our experiences, learning from each other and meeting new people from around the world. Being Irish in London gives us distinction and better yet, being graduates of Trinity College Dublin gives us worldwide recognition.

The experience I am gaining in my first year is invaluable. The patient care, the specialities, the new technology, new procedures, new medicines for different treatments, drugs and diseases I have never heard of: it’s all at my fingertips. We are very well respected for being Irish qualified nurses and applauded for our skill level within our first year.  This just pushes me to want to learn and do more. Socially, you can never be bored in London; there are so many activities to get involved in from roller-blading to hiking up the O2 Arena, to eating out at different street food festivals and exploring the different and distinctive markets. I knew coming over here would be a great opportunity, but I never imagined how amazing my new life would be. Life gave me lemons, so I just made some tasty lemonade!  

A Nursing and Midwifery graduate standing beside a birthing bathIn September 2013 I graduated with my midwifery degree after four intense though highly rewarding years of learning. Unfortunately at that time vacancies for staff midwives in Ireland were limited, forcing me to look further afield for employment. Working through agencies I was offered, and accepted, a position in an NHS Hospital in Swindon, England.  In January 2014, after obtaining my English registration, I packed my bags and made the short trip across the water as a fresh faced newly qualified midwife. 

Initially I was overwhelmed with the maternity system that the NHS implements as it is quite different to the system under which I trained. I became immersed in water births, mixed antenatal and postnatal wards and extensive community care. With the help and support of the Sisters (managers) and senior midwives in the Trust I quickly learned new policies and procedures, obtained new skills such as suturing and scrubbing while also consolidating the skills I had gained throughout my degree. I began to settle into my new surroundings of Swindon, which was a perfect location for day trips to Bath, Bristol, Oxford and London, which was great for my days off.

I believe that working in the NHS has been extremely beneficial to my career, while also broadening the extensive skill set obtained in Ireland. I continuously rotate between Antenatal, Delivery and Postnatal wards, giving me ample opportunity to refresh and improve my midwifery skills. I am involved in caring for women who are delivering in a midwife-led unit as well as the obstetric-led unit, which I would not have experienced in Ireland. Myself and the other Irish trained midwives who emigrated with me have received positive feedback on many occasions from the Sisters about our training and how quickly we settled and became familiar working in the NHS, which I believe is largely attributable to our training in the Rotunda Hospital and Trinity College. The Sisters have constantly praised the four-year degree system, especially the nine month internship in our final year, which is not present in the English system.

Thanks to the experience and education I received in the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Trinity College I was able to travel to the UK and thrive as a midwife.

Following my undergraduate degree in genetics, I undertook my professional nurse and midwife education in Belfast City and Jubilee Hospitals. While working on the labour ward / delivery suite in the Jubilee Maternity Hospital, I completed an M.Sc. in Midwifery in Queen’s University Belfast. I then went to serve as a volunteer for two years with Irish Aid (APSO Association for Personal Services Overseas) to teach Nurse Midwifery in Mzuzu. This is a small town in the North of Malawi, East Africa.
In Mzuzu, I worked as a nurse midwife teacher in St. John’s Hospital which was administered by the Medical Missionaries of Mary. I was involved in many aspects of midwifery and maternity care that I would not have had the opportunity to see in Ireland; this included valuable experience attending breech and twin births. Each nurse midwife student in Malawi must have supervised experience in complex deliveries prior to registration as a nurse midwife. I was also involved in the production of procedure manuals for the labour ward and in the development of a baby friendly / breast feeding promotion programme including promotional posters in the vernacular (Chi Timbuka). Overseas work was very rewarding and gave me invaluable insight into the realities and challenges faced by so many people who share our planet. It also made me thankful for the good things I have and, I hope, more conscious of my contribution to others.
I returned to a midwifery teaching post in the Rotunda Hospital and undertook a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Health Science Education in Trinity College Dublin. My postgraduate studies have enabled me to register as a Nurse Tutor with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland and, the introduction of an undergraduate degree in midwifery has facilitated my entrance into third level education with a lecturer’s post in Trinity College Dublin. I secured funding from the Health Research Board to conduct research about home birth midwifery and conferred with a Ph.D in 2010. I carried a home birth midwifery caseload during my research study, not least to demonstrate my commitment to home birth. This practice has been delightful because it has allowed me to provide midwifery care in real relationships that are genuinely holistic and rewarding for mother and midwife. My home birth practice has also helped me to maintain my competence and credibility as a midwife educator. Independent home birth midwifery practice can be quite isolating and the combined demands of practice, teaching, research and publication can be difficult to sustain.
I am fortunate and delighted to be able to share my passion for midwifery with pre-registration students and with those undertaking Masters and Doctoral studies. I continue to support and develop professional midwifery practice, particularly in midwifery led, community and home birth services. It is useful as an alumnus of Trinity College Dublin to have made a network of committed and passionate midwives who, together, work to influence maternity policy and to optimise women centred choices in Irish maternity services.

Emily FowlerI began my professional career in the Oncology/Haematology unit in the Children's Health Ireland incorporating the National Children’s Hospital (AMNCH) in 2006, following completion of a BSc in Nursing (General Nursing) in Trinity College. During my time there, I developed a passion for oncology and so went on to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Oncology Nursing with Trinity College and St Luke’s Hospital in 2009. After years of building on my practical knowledge and experience in oncology nursing, I decided that it was time for a new challenge and a bit of an adventure.

I moved to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in April 2012 to work in the hospital of Saudi Arabia’s national oil company. It was quite overwhelming when I first arrived, as I stepped into what can only be described as an alien world; women fully covered in black, language barriers, a different work place and a completely new life. Being a long way from family and friends was difficult to cope with for the first couple of weeks, but I began to feel comfortable and at home thanks to the friendliness of the staff from all over the world, who remembered how overwhelming it can be. 

Outside the workplace, the expatriate community that lives and works together in Saudi Arabia, embraces newcomers with open arms. In the two years that I have been here, I have had the chance to travel to so many places that would have otherwise been unreachable, I have made lots of new friends and taken up exciting new hobbies.

Life is certainly different here. At times it can be frustrating as, outside our compound women are not allowed to drive, are expected to be fully covered, restaurants have separate entrances for men and women, and women are not allowed to try on clothes in shops. Despite these challenges, every day is a new adventure.

I firmly believe that the experience and knowledge I gained from my training and educational grounding at Trinity and AMNCH, has stood me in good stead throughout this life changing experience. I can describe the journey as one where new information was learned, valuable training was received, eye-opening insights were gained, and perhaps most importantly, long lasting friendships were made. As my education in Trinity gave me a thirst for knowledge and a drive to advance my professional skills, I am currently undertaking a Masters in Advanced Practice in Cancer Care.


Fiona McGraneIn 2004 I graduated from Trinity College with a degree in Intellectual Disability Nursing and completed a Higher Diploma in Children’s Nursing in 2008.  I hold a Diploma in Social Care awarded by Stockport University and am undertaking an M.Sc. in Caring for Children and Young People with Complex Health Needs with Queens University Belfast.

I have worked for many years caring for children and adults with a disability, in community, residential and hospital environments. Currently I am employed as a Clinical Nurse Manager II for children with Down syndrome in Tallaght Hospital and a Research Nurse in the TCD Department of Paediatrics; my post is supported by Down Syndrome Ireland. I am a steering group member of the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group in the UK and Ireland and also lecture nursing, midwifery and medical students in Trinity College. My subjects of interest are heath and Down syndrome and also how parents receive news a diagnosis.

As the only nurse in the country that specialises within the area, I provide nationwide support for children and families from birth to 18 years. My unique position allows me to be an advocate for children on a daily basis and, through the nurse-managed clinic in Tallaght Hospital, I receive referrals from maternity hospitals across the country, community services and also self-referrals from parents. The nature of the calls I receive include queries from parents requesting appointments for their children, requests for ward consultations, calls from new parents, visits to other children’s hospitals and general medical queries.  I continue to learn new things from the children and their families on a daily basis.

As part of my research I played a pivotal role in setting up The National Register for Children with Down syndrome, the register’s data is held and managed within the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health with the Trinity Centre at Tallaght Hospital.

The nurse education I have received at Trinity College and the people that I have met along my academic journey have inspired me in the current professional nursing research role and continue to do so. The most important message I have learned throughout my professional educational journey is “to always put the person and their families first”. I believe that if all nurses and midwives were to follow this mantra, we could be sure that the care we provide is always of a very high standard.

Fiona lives in Dublin with her husband Aidan and her 2 year old son Clive.


I was delighted to take up my new post as CEO of the European Association for Palliative Care (EPAC) on 1 January 2015 having worked in the area of palliative care for the last 25 years; the first seven in the UK and the last 18 in Ireland.

I originally trained as a nurse at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington and left there in 1990 to undertake an oncology course at the Royal Marsden Hospital. There, one of my placements was in palliative care so from there onwards, this became my career path. I have worked in many different roles within palliative care, including primary nurse, research nurse, clinical nurse specialist and nurse manager, before working as an advisor on palliative care in the Department of Health in Dublin.

During my time in this post, I co-ordinated the development of the Irish National Children's Palliative Care Policy. Respite is a key component of children's palliative care and yet it became apparent that very little was known about how and where services were provided.  This information is not only important for children and their families, but also for providers and planners of healthcare.
Having successfully applied for a Health Research Board Clinical Research Training Fellowship I undertook a full-time PhD at the TCD School of Nursing and Midwifery, focusing on exploring the respite needs and experiences of parents caring for a child with a life-limiting condition, requiring palliative care.
Most of my time as a doctoral student at Trinity College was spent working from home and I always regret that I did not spend more time in college, enjoying the facilities and fully immersing myself in college life. It almost felt that I was too old to enjoy all that was on offer on campus and now looking back I wish I had made more of this time!

I am first and foremost a palliative care nurse and so was delighted that following my research, I was appointed to the post of strategic development at LauraLynn Children's Hospice. This gave me a unique opportunity to put into practice some of the findings from my PhD research. Parents want to care for their child at home with help so I am delighted that during my tenure at LauraLynn, I led the development of a pilot project of a hospice-at-home service providing ‘hands-on’ care for children with life-limiting conditions in the family home enabling my research to make a real difference.

My new post at the EAPC requires regular travel throughout Europe, which I enjoy. The work provides an exciting opportunity to influence change on a larger scale and I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead.  

My everyday life centres on my family and friends. I have a 14 year old son, so my spare time is spent cheerleading (rugby and Gaelic), providing a taxi service (to matches, Wezz and the cinema), bankrolling shopping for training shoes at Dundrum and very importantly, walking my Labrador Oscar in Bushy Park.


Lorraine AndrewsThoughts on our dear colleague Lorraine, Lorraine Andrews was an Assistant Professor in Midwifery in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin from 2006 until her untimely death in 2013.  Lorraine was also an alumna of the TCD School of Nursing and Midwifery, having completed her MSc in Midwifery in 2000.

Lorraine was loved by all of us; she was an outstanding woman, friend and colleague and we miss her dearly. This is a glimpse of the woman as we, her colleagues, knew her: “Lorraine’s wonderful sense of humour, coupled with her special teaching abilities were apparent immediately. It was a privilege for me to have been a part of Lorraine’s life. Her enthusiasm for whatever she was working on was infectious and so much a part of her success. Lorraine’s work on fatherhood will have a lasting contribution to midwifery knowledge and I was humbled to be part of her journey. However, my most abiding memory of Lorraine is how much I learned of her love for her family. They were never far from her thoughts. Often her eyes would fill with tears of joy as she recounted the many exciting stories from the children’s most recent adventures.”
“Lorraine embodied love and positivity, truly and genuinely caring for people in her life. Although our time together was too short, it was meaningful. Lorraine always left an impression with anyone she met, she had an inherent ability to read and understand people; she saw what lay beneath the surface. She was kind, compassionate and insightful but most of all she listened.”

Lorraine was generous with her time and her knowledge, and she supported each of us in her own selfless way.  In the words of another colleague, Lorraine was “so very kind and thoughtful. Her own woman and so very strong. I miss her, I miss the swish of her layers of clothes. The beauty of her hair. The chuckle of her laugh. The sincerity of her facial expressions. I miss her teaching me and showing me how to be a working mother. I miss her writing, her big beautiful penmanship that was made for making To Do Lists and organising timetables and modules. I miss her love of highlighters and post-its. I miss the slow meals with her because so much had to be said and shared.” 

Lorraine’s organisational skills knew no bounds, she colour-coded calendars, articles, files and folders and she had a special fondness for coloured ‘post-its’! She had a wonderful capacity to see only the best in others and she applied this to everyone she met; she had a beautiful smile and an easy laugh. 
Lorraine was loved by students and was a role model for many. This is reflected in comments from one student: “Lorraine was always conscientious about our obligations to each other. Being supervised by Lorraine gave me all the support I needed to feel secure and confident in the task I was undertaking. As well as the academic buttress she provided, I really enjoyed her as a person and we had some great conversations, some of which have had a lasting impact on my life.”
For Lorraine, the children always came first, and her eyes would light up when she spoke of her own family and personal experiences of birth and motherhood. Her love of family was reflected in her teaching and the belief that mothers, babies and fathers deserve excellence in midwifery care.

Lorraine, a special, caring and much loved colleague, scholar, teacher and friend. You will be missed but never forgotten.


Professor Mary McCarronThe School of Nursing & Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin plays a pivotal role in delivering world class nursing and midwifery education and research and we are proud of the real impact this has on the lives of patients in Ireland and around the world. It is with great pride that I can say that I completed the first Ph.D. awarded by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin. It is with similar pride that I can say that first and foremost, I am an RNID and an advocate for people with intellectual disability (ID) which the School has supported me in, both as a student and a staff member. The resources and support from the School of Nursing & Midwifery  and the international and national significance of Trinity College Dublin has also supported me in attaining other firsts too, including:

  • Becoming Principal Investigator (PI) for the first ever Longitudinal Study on Ageing in Persons with Intellectual Disability to be conducted in Ireland or in the European Union and the only study to date with the potential to compare the ageing process in people with ID with other groups.
  • Election as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Trinity College Dublin, the first nurse to hold this post. The Faculty comprises the Schools of Nursing & Midwifery, Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry and related health discipline departments.

The School has been a place where I have been able to stay true to my commitment to the changing lives of people with ID from my thesis as a PhD student to my funded HRB research studies. The School is also a place that values community-clinical linkages and I have appreciated the opportunity to advance such thinking by taking a role as Service and Policy Advisor on Dementia to the Daughters of Charity Service and through building relationships with St. Francis Hospice at Raheny. Indeed there are many linkages in the School with hospitals, services providers and community based health delivery.
Being part of the School also helps me in building the interdisciplinary linkages that are so emphasised in today’s research environments, while also making sure that nursing and nurse-led research is integral to Trinity College’s research agenda on Ageing. The newly-established Trinity EngAGE Centre for Research in Ageing includes the ageing of persons with ID as a flagship programme. With this infrastructure, the School of Nursing and Midwifery is becoming an international leader in this area of ageing and provides opportunities for students to become engaged in research making a real difference in people’s lives.  This is something that is highly valued by the School.
The School of Nursing & Midwifery is dedicated to preparing nurses for leadership roles and equipping them with the self-confidence and knowledge that will enable them to influence research, teaching, practice and policy. As the School’s first PhD, I am determined to exemplify all that the School of Nursing & Midwifery wishes us to be.   


Paula ScottIn February 2013, I travelled to Kolkata in India with 22 other volunteers with the Irish Charity ‘Lotus Child’. The charity works hard at raising funds and gathering resources in order to help prevent the children of Calcutta living a life on the streets. Our project was to build a school in Sanyrayata, a village on the outskirts of the city, which will provide education for 100 children as well as a resource centre for adult and health education.

Soon after we landed on Indian soil, we were greeted with blasting heat and humidity and a very different world became my reality. What a culture shock it was. I learned about Calcutta in school, and there I was walking through it. Conditions were hazardous, not something I would let my own child live through.

The physical work of building the school was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. Sourcing water to mix cement, carrying blocks for many kilometres every day and plastering walls became part of our nine hour working day. The locals welcomed us into their homes with open arms and big wide smiles, and provided much needed escape and rest when needed during the heat of the day.

Most evenings we visited previous building projects by ‘Lotus Child’, and Orphanages supported by them too. Some of us even managed a 5am start for Ash Wednesday Mass at Mother Teresa’s House. Every day was so worthwhile.

I love people, and I adore children. I am honoured to have taken part in a project so crucially important for the future of these amazing children where instead of a life in the streets, they will have one with education that can set them free. I am forever happy I that listened to my gut instinct and shared some of the knowledge and experience that I gained at the School of Nursing and Midwifery Trinity College Dublin.


Sarah Evans GildeaEven when I was in the middle of my midwifery education in Trinity College Dublin and The Rotunda Hospital (2006-2010), I knew my dream was to use my qualification to move to Australia with my family.  I qualified a little later than anticipated due to an unexpected addition to my clan. As I didn’t really know where to start with the process of emigration, I accepted a job offer in the hospital I had trained in while I decided what the future held.
After much paperwork and nail-biting anticipation of good news emails, I was eventually granted both Australian registration as a midwife and permanent residency all within eight weeks of each other.  It was really happening, it suddenly became very scary.  We finished our jobs, tied up loose ends and said our goodbyes.
I started my current job in June 2012.  It is a private hospital with four labour rooms and 26 en-suite single rooms on a combined antenatal / postnatal ward.  It is very different to the environment I was used to back in Ireland.  The hardest transition was actually basic things like the use of different medications and where supplies are kept.  The eight-hour shifts were also a culture shock as I was back to working five days a week instead of three long days.
The job itself was the same - support, education and nurturing of women and babies.  The importance of women centred care that was instilled in me during my midwifery education is with me throughout every shift.  The evidence based practice we were bathed in during lectures has stood me in very good stead; not only have I received compliments from the women in my care, but also my peers.  At present, I run the postnatal ward during my night shifts and also act as a second midwife in delivery suite.  I have had some very eventful shifts and I am extremely grateful for our second year lectures on recognising abnormalities, and our head of year’s wise words of ‘you have to know the normal to recognise the abnormal’.
It is not my dream job, after all it’s an obstetric led unit, but I have plans to move to a midwifery led unit as soon as possible.

Sarah Evans Gildea, School of Nursing and Midwifery Graduate 2010


Katie HillI graduated as a registered Children’s and General Nurse from Trinity College in April 2012. During my training I developed a passion for paediatric palliative care. Upon qualification, I was looking for new challenges and experiences and set off to volunteer for 6 months in the Butterfly Children’s Hospice (BCH) in ChangSha, China.


When I first arrived in ChangSha I was a little overwhelmed and initially it was a huge culture shock. At the beginning I did find myself thinking what have I done, but as soon as I stepped foot in the Butterfly Home I knew I had made the right decision. Life in the Butterfly Home is an emotional rollercoaster, with good days and bad days. The days are filled with laughter, tears, joy, love and heartbreak. Some children only have a few hours of comfort in our arms before they pass away, others need someone to stand with them and fight when they go through endless surgeries and others just need a little bit of hope and someone to believe in them. When the babies come to Butterfly Children’s Hospice abandoned, scared and helpless it is devastating seeing their little eyes with no hope. However, with a lot of care, love, time and encouragement they grow and develop to become beautiful little children each with their own unique personality and it is so rewarding when some babies get adopted to a loving forever family and get a second chance at life.

After my initial 6 months volunteering I returned to Ireland to work and earn money to support me to go back out to China, but realised my heart was left in China. I returned to China and volunteered again for another 18 months, becoming Head Nurse overseeing the nursing care of the children and leading the nursing team. In 2013, BCH opened a second hospice in Nanjing and I travelled between the two cities managing the nursing teams. After this I returned to Ireland to complete a Masters degree in Trinity College but was on call for the nursing team and returned to China every few months to the Home. In 2015 I returned to China to take up a new role of Childcare Manager. I completed training programmes with Chinese nurses and healthcare professionals, who have continued to run the Nanjing Home, now Rainbow Centre. I continued in this role for a year, leading the childcare and nursing team in the ChangSha home, having put numerous policies and procedures in place to ensure high quality care is delivered to the children. I have since returned to Ireland and am currently working in Lauralynn Children’s Hospice whilst still promoting BCH and the work they do. 

I am grateful for the great training and knowledge I received from Trinity which gave me the confidence to go on this journey. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about it, to step outside their comfort zone and do something different. It is a decision you will never regret and I am so thankful I had this opportunity after Trinity to experience the unimaginable.