A Day in the Life of Prof Jonathan Hourihane

Consultant Paediatrician, CHI at Temple Street and Head of Department of Paediatrics, RCSI

I usually wake up energetic and ready to go but as I’m the only morning person in my house. My less ‘morning-loving’ family linger in bed until I go to work. This has improved for them since I moved from Cork as my wife and youngest child are living there for another 18 months until he finishes secondary school.

At the moment I am in Dublin for four days per week and Cork for one. In Dublin I drive to work two days per week and get train and Dublin Bike the other days. Unfortunately I have had one rooky crash over Luas rails so far, saved thankfully by my helmet. I am deliberately ‘screen/headphones free’ on the Dart, unlike everyone else. At the office I check emails, make real coffee then join handover or crack on with my day.

Allergy clinic is the highlight of my working week, which is otherwise a crazy mix of meetings, tutorials, occasional exams, academic administration and working at my standing desk (great for the spine).

My general paediatric ward rounds are also important. Professors need to be seen to be on the floors, by students, trainees and staff in general. When we get the allergy research and HSE service fully operational here and in CHI at Connolly, I will have day case challenges too.

The case-mix, range of teaching and MDT meetings in CHI at Temple Street are great, though I don’t get to attend enough of them. I’m making a conscious effort to take my lunch with new colleagues, having lunched at my desk and ‘worked through’ for the last 20 years. I’ve introduced myself to some of them at least four times; they are being patient with me. My research and academic interests mean a lot of overseas travel periodically, which is always greeted on my return by ‘Did you have a nice few days off?’ If only!

Paediatrics is the most fun you can have in a hospital while sober. I love the variety from patient contact to health service planning, to patient advocacy, from Dublin to anywhere in the world, to grant writing, designing and writing up research projects, with a sharp eye for  grammar.

Until 2005 when I arrived back from the UK, the DoH/HSE had no understanding of or interest in allergic disorders. This is changing but only glacially.  Ireland’s tiny clinical research economy and lack of meaningful corporate or tax-favourable philanthropy means allergy research is very constrained by limited funding opportunities. The academic career pathway is still poorly developed in Irish Paediatrics. Ideally I would like to see more ‘non-ologists’ involved in the sector, working with patients not centrifuges.

I have only been working in CHI at Temple Street for three months but getting an allergy clinic started in CHI at Connolly has been the highlight. Opportunity knocked and CHI’s response was amazingly positive. My Consultant allergy colleagues have agreed to run the clinic while I am away on a scholarship for three months which is amazing too. Allergists are the best, let’s face it.

I try to run a few times per week. My two mottos are ‘Do the right thing’ and ‘We can do better than this’, so I want to do my  best in whatever forum I am being asked to contribute.  My favourite arts format is live comedy, being a huge fan of Mock the Week and Foil Arms and Hogg, with a big shout out for Milton Jones, apart from his shirts.

I haven’t been in CHI at Temple Street long enough yet to have found  its secret physical treasures but the atmosphere of ‘team-ness/esprit de corps’ from Site CEO, Mona Baker through all personnel at all levels is something I’ve never experienced before. It needs to be bottled and marketed to fund allergy services.