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David Murphy, Staff Nurse, Emergency Department at South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen


What motivated you to pursue a career at South West Acute Hospital?

“I was looking for a change of career so I went back into education at South West College, completing a HNC & HND in Health and Social care. I was lucky enough to get a post as a Health Care Assistant in the Emergency Department and a few years later I was supported by the Western Trust to do my Nursing Degree through the Open University. I was successful in obtaining a staff nurse post within the Emergency Department. My passion throughout my training was always Emergency Medicine.”

Could you share a significant challenge you’ve faced in your role and how you overcame it to provide quality healthcare services?

“I was a newly qualified Nurse when the Covid pandemic started. This was especially challenging as I was just beginning my nursing career. However, it meant we supported each other as a team, worked tirelessly for our patients going and above and beyond when we were very aware off the restrictions impeded on families at what was an unprecedented time for healthcare nationally.”

How do you believe your role contributes to the well-being and recovery of patients within our community?

“Working within the Emergency Department we see patients at their most vulnerable. By taking a holistic approach, I not only help patients medically but also support them emotionally. I hope that patients and their families coming to the Emergency Department know that I will aim to deliver the highest possible standards of care. I will always strive to advocate for my patients, communicate concerns with the medical team and support them throughout their journeys path to either admission or discharge.”

Can you highlight a particular patient interaction or medical achievement that you are particularly proud of, and why?

“There have been many memorable situations but my main medical achievement is working within Resuscitation (Resus). We see patients who are critically ill and work within a team to deliver life-saving interventions. It is fast paced, challenging and focused. I feel working within this environment helps me to continue to develop my education and skills. Nursing is a continuous learning process and I am proud of helping children, adults and our older population at times of crisis and vulnerability.”

How do you ensure the delivery of compassionate and effective care in your specific healthcare discipline?

“I am a people person and I believe it is important to spend time talking with and listening to my patients, offering reassurance and making sure they know what is happening. This is especially important with patients off all ages including children and older people who might feel especially scared and vulnerable. I try to ensure I am approachable, emphatic and professional at all times. I always try to deliver care with a smile on my face.”

What aspect of your work do you find most rewarding, and how does it resonate with your personal values and mission?

“Ensuring that I deliver effective nursing care that is patient focused and in their best interest is the most rewarding. This can be varied from making a light beverage, to working alongside medical staff to assist with diagnosis and treatment. I want all of my patients to receive the best care I can provide and this gives me great job satisfaction.”

How do you manage the demands of your job, and what strategies do you employ to ensure exceptional healthcare service delivery?

“It is important to recognise the limitations of my role as a Registered Nurse within the Emergency Department. I work as part of a dedicated team and we prioritise our work to ensure the most seriously ill patients take priority. Communication with my colleagues is key to ensure all tasks are carried out to a high standard. I am continually updating my medical skills by staying abreast of current policies and legislation. My down time is spent with family, making memories. Currently, I am planning a family wedding. I enjoy gardening and am currently undertaking extending the garden area.”

Have there been any mentors or colleagues who have significantly influenced your practice, and in what way?

“I have been fortunate within my training to have worked with some exceptional Senior Nurses within the department and the hospital as a whole. My manager Ronnie Kernaghan not only gave me the confidence to study nursing initially, Deputy Sister Clare O’Donnell, my Mentor and Preceptor during my training and throughout my nursing career. Clare has taught me the importance of being patient focused, open to new learning and the importance of self-care. It would be remiss not to mention the Tutors within South West College and the Open University who taught me the skills I needed to return to education as an older student, and my study buddy Staff Nurse Sandra Knox.”

What are your aspirations for the future, and how do you envision the evolution of your role within South West Acute Hospital?

“I hope to continue my nursing career at the hospital. Every day I am learning new skills and increasing my nursing knowledge and I expect this will always be the case. Medical practice continues to evolve and I am looking forward to learning and taking all opportunities that will expand my skills in the future. My future aspiration is to remain within the Emergency Department and progress my skill set accordingly.”

How do you believe your efforts contribute to the overall excellence and advancement of healthcare services in our local community?

“The Emergency Department at SWAH is a vital service within the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area. Having worked in the department for almost 8 years, I have gained knowledge and experience that makes me confident with my role. I hope this comes across to every new patient and that they feel reassured that I will look after them to the best of my ability. I truly believe that by recognising the high quality medical care available will ensure retention of current staff, services and hopefully encourage new disciplines that can be delivered at SWAH.”