Grainne Gallanagh has urged the HSE to give nurses a pay rise, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The 25-year-old returned to work as a nurse in her native Donegal earlier this year, to help those on the frontline.
Speaking to the Irish Mirror, Grainne said nurses should be rewarded for the efforts by receiving an increase in their wages.
“As far as I’m concerned, a clap is all well and good but it doesn’t pay someone’s bills,” she said.
“The staff in the hospital work 13-hour days, they’re both physically and mentally exhausted,” she continued.
“Surprisingly, the mood is actually quite nice. The staff are very supportive of each other and they understand they need to have each other’s backs.”
Speaking about her decision to return to work as nurse, Grainne said: “I was very wary about passing anything on to my family. Initially I moved out of my parents’ home and quarantined alone in my sister’s house.”
“When there were no longer any cases in the hospital where I worked, I moved home. It is scary and I’ve just had to be very vigilant about hand hygiene.”
“Initially I was so nervous,” she confessed. “I hadn’t worked in Ireland since I qualified as a nurse, never mind during a pandemic.”
“But honestly, it all comes back to you almost instantly. The staff are really supportive and they will always check up on how you’re doing.”
“It’s obviously so much harder for the patients so I just keep that in mind when I start my day. I start at 8 am so I leave my house at seven so I’m at work in time to get changed into my scrubs and uniform. I get a handover in the morning from the night staff and then it’s all go from there.”
“Between medication rounds, doctors’ rounds, getting patients up and ready for their breakfast and washed, it is just full on from start to finish. There is also talking to anxious family members on the phone, liaising with doctors, physios and Occupational Therapists,” she explained.
“I always make sure I eat plenty and have at least two cups of coffee. It’s always busy at the hospital, my shift finishes at 9pm and I’m usually asleep as soon as I hit my pillow.”
Grainne also addressed the recent cancellation of Dancing With The Stars, which she appeared on earlier this year.
“It’s so disappointing that the show is gone,” she said. “It’s such an amazing show and it’s such an uplifting show for people in the dark winter months.”
“It’s so sad for all of the production and everyone that works behind the scenes not to mention the professional dancers, it’s such a great job for them.”
“But if RTE felt it was safer to put it on a hiatus then maybe it’s for the best. I’m sure it will return to our screens in 2022. I haven’t really missed the dancing to be honest. The moves never came easy to me. It was such hard work and I struggled immensely.”
“I was just lucky I had such a talented teacher that made me look half decent. Some of my patients have seen me attempt a bit of jive on the wards, but that’s it.”
Grainne added: “Do I miss the modelling? Of course; this isn’t as glamorous and I absolutely miss it. But it’s great to be able to give back to my community in this way.”
“Also, I’ve kept my family very busy being my photographers for my Instagram so I feel like I’m still doing the modelling.”