Building a Better Health Service


WIT Nurses graduate during unprecedented times


Four years of study in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), featuring 80 weeks of clinical placements in HSE/South East Community Healthcare mental health services, was marked in five small ceremonies across the region this week for 50 graduates of WIT’s B.Sc. (Honours) in Psychiatric Nursing.

Concluding their fourth year of the course and a 36 week continuous internship with HSE/South East Community Healthcare (SECH), 12 of the students were presented with their qualifications at the old church on the grounds of St. Otteran’s Hospital, Waterford. Similar occasions were hosted for 11 students at the Wexford Mental Health Services offices in Enniscorthy, 10 at St. Canice’s Hospital in Kilkenny, nine at St. Luke’s Hospital in Clonmel and eight at St. Dympna’s Hospital in Carlow.

Having begun in September 2017 and on completion of their training in the HSE in the coming weeks, the 50 participants will register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland as Psychiatric Nurses.

David Heffernan (Head of Service/Mental Health, HSE/SECH), in offering his congratulations to all concerned, said: “This group of graduates have continued their training during the unprecedented times of pandemic and they have contributed enormously to delivering the highest possible standards of care in mental health services throughout counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford in that time. They have both our sincere appreciation and admiration for their commitment.

“Psychiatric/Mental Health nursing is a specialist field within the health care profession. It involves an interpersonal, caring process which acknowledges the uniqueness of each person. The Psychiatric Nurse is concerned with the promotion of mental health, the prevention of mental illness and the provision of care to those with mental health problems.”

The ceremonies in Clonmel, Kilkenny and Carlow were attended by SECH’s Carlow-Kilkenny/South Tipperary mental health services area Director of Nursing Anne Buggy and Nurse Practice Development Co-ordinator Irene Ryan – in addition to the respective Clinical Placement Co-ordinators Emer O’ Donnell (South Tipperary), Claire Fitzgerald (Kilkenny) and Helen Heffernan (Carlow).

The ceremony in Enniscorthy was attended by SECH’s Waterford/Wexford mental health services area Director of Nursing Kasia Nolan and Nurse Practice Development Co-ordinator Ursula O’ Neill (both of whom also attended in Waterford) and Wexford’s Clinical Placement Co-ordinator Marilyn Vereker. The ceremony in Waterford was also attended by Asst. Director of Nursing Joan Croke Power and Tony Reid (Lecturer, Dept. of Nursing and Health Care, WIT).

Speaking at the ceremony in the old church at St. Otteran’s Hospital, John Fitzgerald (Clinical Placement Co-ordinator, Waterford Mental Health Services) said:  “HSE/South East Community Healthcare works closely with WIT in facilitating clinical placements across a diverse range of mental health services. Taking Waterford city and county as an example, it includes working in the Dept. of Psychiatry acute inpatient unit, the Aidan’s Unit for Psychiatry of Later Life at the Waterford Residential Care Centre and the Grangemore Rehabilitation Centre at St. Otteran’s. There are also placements in other high, medium and low support residences, day services at Brooke House, specialist nursing support at University Hospital Waterford (e.g. the Emergency Dept. liaison service) and participation in Community Mental Health Teams and other community supports and services based in and from Primary Care Centres in Dungarvan, Tramore and Waterford.

“I concur with observations made by colleagues across all five ceremonies as to this diverse training afforded in the South East to graduates in Psychiatric Nursing being a solid foundation to develop professionally and make a lasting contribution to the delivery of quality, safe and effective mental health care locally, nationally and internationally.”