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Clinical Specialist Dietitian Siobhan Power encourages innovation

 Clinical Specialist Dietitian stands in side profile in a hospital corridor. Siobhan is wearing her white dietitian uniform.



“Progress is not linear. Even for a relatively simple project like mine, there were plenty of bumps in the road. However, if you engage with a great team from the start, the support is there to help you navigate the inevitable challenges,” according to Siobhan Power, Clinical Specialist Dietitian at Tallaght University Hospital (TUH).  

Siobhan was recently involved in developing a series of animated videos to “support patients waiting for surgery to take steps to get themselves physically and emotionally ready for surgery.”

Siobhan describes how her motivation for creating the videos was her conviction that “patients waiting for surgery could take steps to get themselves physically and emotionally ready for surgery if they had access to the right information.”

Working in the area of general and colorectal surgery since 2008, Siobhan says she is “passionate about using nutrition to help patients prepare for and recover from major surgery.


In recent years her attention has been drawn to the emerging science of surgical prehabilitation. According to Siobhan, prehabilitation prepares patients to “weather the storm of their operation by engaging in healthy behaviours in the months leading up to surgery.”

Siobhán has a long track record in innovation. She introduced the nasal bridle to TUH – the first time such a device was used on the island of Ireland – and went on to publish a research paper on the  implementation process.  A nasal bridle is a securement method used to discourage patients, young or old, from dislodging their nasal feeding tube.

Siobhán also championed the distal feeding technique in TUH for patients with intestinal failure, as a means to wean them off parenteral supports. Distal feeding involves the insertion of a feeding tube into the patient’s fistula/stoma which then administers a liquid-feed into the small bowel. Siobhán subsequently gave a presentation on this innovative feeding technique at the Sir Peter Freyer Surgical Symposium.

Outlining how she initiated the animated prehabilitation video project, Siobhan says she “first spoke with the Innovate Health Team in TUH. That’s where this project started. The Innovation Team here are able to open doors and link you with the right people from the start. It’s thanks to the Spark Ignite Innovation Competition that our team secured seed funding. Secondly, I benefitted hugely from participating in Quality Improvement Training here at TUH which equipped me to run this project effectively.”

Looking to the future, Siobhán says she would like to forge links with community partners with a view to developing an in-person prehabilitation programme for at-risk patients scheduled for elective surgery in TUH.