24 May 2022

Portlaoise nurse's experience on the Covd-19 coalface has shown him why the vaccine is so important in Laois and everywhere else

Ronan Ging from Portlaoise who can't come home for Christmas calls on the people of Laois to get vaccinated

coronavirus covid-19

Laois native from Portlaoise nurse Ronan Ging receives the vaccine in London

My name is Ronan Ging, son of the late John Ging Snr and my mother Phyllis Ging. I grew up on the Mountrath road in Portlaoise and attended the CBS in Tower Hill. I am one of seven children and I’m the one that chose to become a Nurse.

In 2006 I moved to Scotland to study nursing; the reason, I didn’t get enough points in my Leaving Certificate, but I still wanted to follow my dream and become a nurse! It would be due to this decision, that I would see myself qualify if 2009, travel the world, working as a nurse, at sea, aboard sailing ships, on land in hospitals and festivals, and in the sky aboard military aircraft.

My nursing career would also lead me to specialise as an ICU Nurse, go into an education role, and specialise again, in Resuscitation. This would all ultimately see me work on the frontline of the Covid-19 Pandemic in ICUs across London and educating others in how to work and function in an ICU environment.

Having worked in ICU for a number of years, I am accustomed to dealing with trauma, bad luck, medical emergencies, major incidents, terrorist attacks, adrenaline-filled nightshifts with extremely unwell patients, and patients that are actively dying as we claw them back from the brink, to health.

I am used to dealing with death. I am also used to dealing with euphoria when you inform patients of good news.
What I was not used to dealing with, was COVID-19, and neither were any of my colleagues. At the height of the pandemic, I would find myself working in hot sweaty PPE, surrounded by vast amounts of machines, looking after ventilated patients in induced comas and multi-organ failure on ICU’s where all of the patients had the one illness, Covid.

I had never seen ICUs where every single patient had the same illness, some young, some old, all Covid.

We have come a long way since March, our ICUs are no longer filled solely with Covid 19 patients, they are populated with sick people but with varying illnesses, they may seem odd, but that is a good thing. This is as a result of nations, across the world, wearing face masks, exercising good hand hygiene and social distancing. These practices must continue, for now, to ensure our hospitals do not become overwhelmed.

Working throughout this pandemic has been scary, exciting, confusing at times, tiring but most of all, a privilege. I take pride in possessing the skills that allow me to nurse critically unwell patients. I enjoy looking after people, calming them down, and giving them the best care that they deserve. I measure that care off of the care I would expect my family to have if they were in Hospital. Working in the pandemic, throughout the year, I have noted so many rumours and so much misinformation spread in relation to the virus, a lot of which stemmed from our lack of knowledge about covid-19.

I had never seen ICUs where every single patient had the same illness, some young, some old, all Covid.

Our knowledge of the disease has now grown dramatically and it continues to grow by the day!

The one-piece of absolute certainty, from day one, was that a vaccine can cure this problem, and we have been waiting for that vaccine since February.

These vaccines have been created by the scientific community and ratified by their most harsh critiques to ensure that they are fit for purpose, and they are! The time is just around the corner for Ireland to get its own vaccine programme and I want you to be safe in the knowledge that this is the right thing! When it comes to your turn, go and get it!

As a healthcare professional, I regularly give people advice on what not, and what to, do. The information that we give to patients must be evidence-based, based on the best scientific evidence available. With that in mind, and having 11 years’ experience as a nurse, and having looked after so many unwell patients with Covid-a9, my advice is, get yourself vaccinated. This will prevent the vast majority of the nation acquiring the disease. This advice may be daunting for some, and if that is you, I would advise you to read up on the vaccine, look at what good vaccines have done for the world of late.

Once 70% per cent of the population has been vaccinated, we then get “herd immunity”, which means the majority of the population can’t get Covid, so they, in turn, protect the other 30% of the population. If 100% of people get the vaccine, we eradicate the disease, we should aim for the latter! A swift role out of the vaccine will absolutely contribute to thousands of lives being saved in Ireland.

I would urge everyone, that when your time has come, and you are called, go and have your vaccine.

I was one of the first people in the world to have received the vaccine and I feel great! The vaccine is administered via a standard small intramuscular needle, which you can barely even feel. Following administration, I was asked to wait for 15 minutes before returning to the ward to work, very simple. Whilst getting my jab I noted I was surrounded by all of my colleagues also receiving the vaccine, they were nurses, doctors, porters, domestics, physios etc.

I would urge everyone, that when your time has come, and you are called, go and have your vaccine. This will be the way we get society’s back to normal, our businesses back up and running, our GAA back on the field, our elderly out of their homes, and more importantly protect the ‘at risk’ population of Ireland, and the world, from contracting this absolutely horrible and devastating virus.

Stay washing your hands, maintain social distancing and wear a face covering over your mouth and nose.

New restrictions in the UK meant Ronan could not come home for Christmas.

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