I am about to embark on a radical change in my life - to pursue a new career in the field of Public Health. After 34 years working in food service I am no longer physically able for the rigors of the kitchen. My transplant kidney, Trevor ( named him after the great Ian Dury song Clever Trevor)is on the wane, after 22 years of good service.
I am absolutely thrilled to have been offered a place on the Masters in Public Health at UCC.
My interest in Public Health is not surprising . My kidneys failed as a result of Chronic Pyelonephritis, or to you and me constant kidney infections. I was first hospitalised at 6 years old, so health has been a consideration all of my life.
The Masters is a one year taught programme, with lectures two days a week from September to May, followed by a thesis. My main area of interest going into the Masters is how patients living in outlying areas like myself, with ongoing illness, can be better facilitated to care for themselves at home. As a patient with chronic infection, I have developed antibiotic resistance which means I now need i.v. antibiotics to clear my kidney infections. With the help of my fantastic GP and medical team we arranged that I administer myself i.v. antibiotics at home, meaning I was able to be at home with my children while minding myself and simultaneously save the taxpayer literally thousands of euros (€1,500 per night by 21 nights, 3 times in the past 12 months alone, that's €94,500) by not taking a hospital bed. This wasn't difficult, but currently there is no protocol within our health system for this. Problems arose with the supply of equipment and the drug itself that shouldn't have arisen and wouldn't have if there was a protocol in place. This is one example of the kind of project that I could pursue for my thesis. An example of a practice with the potential to benefit both patient and the public purse!
I am really looking forward to learning more about Public Health and the health system and I'm sure that I will find many diverse areas of interest. The challenges facing the health system are ever changing and ever growing. I really hope potentially I may be able to contribute in some small but possibly meaningful way to health care in Ireland.
Illness is hard-going at the best of times. Having fulfilling gainful employment makes a massive difference and everything considerably easier.
I am seeking to raise €9,350. The fees for the MPH are €5,850. €1,750 is to cover the cost of bed and board in Cork city one night and two days a week, and €1,750 is to cover the cost of childminding.
I am immensely graetful for every contribution no matter how big or small. Thank you.
- Fern Atkinson
- victoria doyle