Former nurse in Tallaght University Hospital graduates to become doctor

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A BALLYMOUNT woman was one of a class of around 300 medical students who officially became doctors last week, after the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) held their results day via live stream, reports Aideen O’Flaherty.

Suzanne Murphy (30) was at home in Ballymount with her family when she saw her results being read out, confirming that the she had passed the five-year-long course and was now officially a doctor.

Suzanne in Great Ormond Street last Summer compressor

Suzanne Murphy

This marked the completion of Dr Murphy’s studies and the achievement of her goal of being a doctor, after working as a nurse in Tallaght University Hospital and a nursing home following her graduation from her primary degree in nursing in Trinity College in 2011.

“I originally put down medicine as my first choice on my CAO when I was doing my Leaving Cert, but at 18-years-old I knew I wouldn’t get 600 points,” she told The Echo.

“So, I put down nursing instead, because it was in the medical field. Although I really enjoyed nursing, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do so I reapplied for medicine when I was 23.

“I applied three times before I got in on the third try. 

“I remember finding out when I got into medicine. It was about 10 or 11 in the morning and I was asleep because I was working the nightshift in the nursing home, and then my mum and my sister, Cathy, came in with the letter screaming that I’d gotten into RCSI, then I couldn’t sleep at all because I was so excited!”

During her time in RCSI, Dr Murphy was the editor-in-chief and later the director of the RCSI Student Medical Journal, and founded the RCSI Association of Women Surgeons Student Chapter, and while the completion of her time as a medical student isn’t what she expected, it was still an exciting time.

“When I was looking at the results being read out online, I immediately started crying and my mum was there too – my mum has been there for everything – and my dad, they’ve both always been my biggest supporters.

“It’s really surreal – it’s happened, but I almost can’t believe that it’s happened.”

The graduation ceremony is due to take place online next month, where students will get to don their caps and gowns at home for the virtual ceremony, while there are plans for a full conferring ceremony to take place in person at a later date for the graduates.

Dr Murphy, who is a past pupil of the Assumption Secondary School in Walkinstown, has a particular interest in pursuing a career in neurosurgery, having spent four weeks last summer in Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London as a neurosurgery elective student.

Looking ahead, she’ll be working in the orthopedics and care of the elderly departments in the Mater, before going on to do paediatric neurosurgery in Temple Street Children’s Hospital at the end of the year.

When asked what it’s been like for her and her classmates to be qualifying as doctors in the middle of a global pandemic, Dr Murphy said: “I think everyone in the class feels the same, everyone wants to go out and play their part.

“I don’t think anyone would’ve chosen to go into medicine in the middle of a pandemic, but we’re all keen to get started and help out.”

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