LYIT Masters helped Nurse Ciara brighten the lives of others
Ciara McFeely is an Intellectual Disability Nurse who is studying at LYIT and loves every day in her job. She was a stay-at-home mum who challenged herself to apply for nursing at LYIT. Eight years later, she has a BSc degree in Intellectual Disability Nursing, and is now pursuing a Masters in Advancing Health and Social Care.
The Drumkeen woman (aged 42) returned to further education at LYIT because it gave her the opportunity to study at a highly-reputable nursing college that is in close proximity to her family home.
Ciara now works as a RNID (Registered Nurse Intellectual Disability) within Donegal Intellectual Disability Services. She is undertaking her Masters degree under a blended learning programme for enhanced flexibility as she continues working in her dream job.
Speaking about her job Ciara said “I absolutely love my job the sense of achievement and the rewards when you can help someone, make their life easier or simply bring a smile to their face.
“I work as part of a multidisciplinary team providing holistic, person-centred care to people with ID’s. There is no feeling in the world like it, it just lights up your whole day.”
Ciara spoke of the flexibility LYIT provided during her undergraduate degree years:
“LYIT were very understanding around my family life, the lecturers were very accommodating with emailing notes or handouts lectures, I felt that there was support if it was needed with deadlines for assignments and handing up work.”
Ciara adds “At present on the Masters programme I’m happy to say that I feel that I have the same level of support around my family and work life. As I was unsure if I could afford to return to college to study a Masters programme the LYIT developed a payment plan to suit my needs which are flexible to fit in with my family/work life.”
Tax relief is available for all student on fees paid for the Masters programme up to €5,000. Funding options are available to students under the Nursing and Midwifery Planning & Development Unit fund. A devolved budget is allocated to the Centres of Nursing & Midwifery Education in both Donegal and Sligo for postgraduate nursing and midwifery education programmes. Both CNME's enable the administration of this budget on behalf of the Directors of Nursing/Midwifery.
Ciara has already found that the Masters in Advancing Health and Social Care has broadened her skillset and will open doors for her careerpath.
She said: I’m currently almost half way through a Master’s programme, I have completed various modules which has made me reflect a lot on the type of person I am and the views that I would have on various topics.
“I am learning a huge amount through the Leadership and management modules. It has highlighted the importance of working collaboratively and as part of a team. Thankfully where I work at present we have a fantastic team and manager.”
Ciara hopes to use her Masters education to make patient’s lives brighter and better:
“Within the Masters programme we have to complete a dissertation and as people with Intellectual Disabilities (ID’s) are living longer I am focusing on palliative care for people with ID’s.
“I would love to be able to develop an Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) role within ID services in the CHO1 area for palliative/end-of-life care in conjunction with the community palliative care team.
“I am hoping that this Masters in Advanced Health and Social Care will equip me with skills to achieve this and also enhance my knowledge and expertise which I can bring to my work and make the lives of people with Intellectual Disabilities brighter and better.”
LYIT enabled Ciara to fulfil a lifelong dream of working in healthcare, which is a role she still cherishes:
“I am a nurse, this means a great deal to me, I work every-day to enhance the lives of others, to make life happy and complete for them.”
“Completing my BSc in Nursing was a huge achievement, I was the first in my own family to graduate from college. It was an amazing feeling to have a career. For me, I was more than a mother, I was now a professional. This was a personal sense of achievement. To have my kids and my parents at my graduation was surreal, I was so proud.”
Studying and raising a family was not without its challenges, but Ciara has developed a way to manage her time to achieve it all for the benefit of herself and her family.
“Although my return to education has been a positive effect on my kids from the point of view that it has reinforced the importance of education, hard work and achieving your dreams. I tell them and show them every-day that anything is possible if you want it and work hard enough to achieve it, it can be done.”