Alan Nolan

Departmental Porter, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit 2 (PICU 2), CHI Crumlin

I get up at 6am every morning and I travel to work by motorbike from the city centre. The first thing I do when I arrive to work is to get changed into my uniform, wash my hands and retrieve ventilators for the daily cardiac list. Then I bring the ventilators to the PICU and get any beds or cots needed for the list.

Every day is different. It could change from one minute to the next because in an Intensive Care Unit, it could be ‘four seasons in a day’. For example, you could be told a surgery that you prepared for had been just cancelled. It also all depends on the admissions and discharges in a day.

The biggest challenge for me is when a child passes away, especially when you are familiar with the parents coming in and out and whose child is long term stay on the Unit. All you can do is pay your respects in the event of an RIP, but you have to get on with it, as it is part of the job.

My proudest achievement is that I have worked every Christmas day for the past thirty years and for at least the last ten I had the pleasure and privilege of helping to escort some of the visiting celebrities around the hospital on the day. Seeing the look on the parents faces when they see them is special, even more so than the children, as the parents are generally more familiar with then. It is always the little things that go a long way especially at Christmas.

The thing I like most about my job is getting on well with my colleagues and meeting new people including parents and patients on a daily basis.

In order to relax, unwind and keep body & mind well, I like to travel a lot and take short breaks in the country. Booking ahead keeps my mind focused and gives me something to look forward to. It is ‘light at the end of the tunnel or so to speak’. I am known to enjoy a pint of Guinness now and again, especially when someone buys it for me. I am actually known as ‘Arthur Daly’ to my colleagues (AKA Del Boy!)

I am motivated when people whose child where either well or deceased and spent time on the Unit show appreciation and acknowledge your service with a card or a gesture of thanks. You know the saying…’a little goes a long way’, and it is nice to be nice’.

The thing that makes me laugh most is having the banter with the lads. The treasure I love most about Crumlin is the hospital staff canteen because just having a break in there along with the atmosphere, banter, having the crack over football results and just discussing the world in general is great.