Irish nurses’ experiences of the NHS revealed in new podcast

Irish nurses’ experiences of the NHS revealed in new podcast

A NEW podcast has been launched outlining the experiences of Irish people who came to Britain to train and work as NHS nurses.

Released this week, as the NHS celebrates its 75th birthday, the series has been developed through an ongoing research project led by Professor Louise Ryan of London Metropolitan University and Grainne McPolin, a retired nurse and now independent documentary maker, in collaboration with the London Irish Centre.

The podcast, titled Irish Nurses in the NHS, documents the recruitment drives that took place in Ireland shortly after Britain’s National Health Service was founded on July 5, 1948.

Throughout the 1950s and 60s NHS staff travelled around Ireland to interview and sign up mainly Irish teenage girls for nurse training.

Pictured (l-r) are Irish nurses working in the NHS in the 1960s, Maureen Grennan, Patricia Simonds-Gooding and Dympna McGarry (PIC: Getty)

The podcast uses first-hand accounts and personal testimonies to share the experiences and lives of those Irish women who helped build the NHS over these decades that followed.

“In this series you'll hear from dozens of these nurses about their motivations to leave home, how they adapted to their new lives in Britain and what their training entailed, including many funny memories as well as some sad ones,” the podcast creators explain.

“It will look at questions like what was it like to leave Ireland at 18 and arrive in a new and unfamiliar country? How were they welcomed and what was life like in Britain?

“This podcast series aims to answer these questions and brings to life the untold stories of Irish nurses in the NHS.”

The first three episodes of the podcast are now available to listeners.

Episode 1 is titled Leaving Home, and features five women who left their lives in Ireland to join the NHS.

The second episode, Becoming a Nurse, looks at what it was like to become a nurse in the NHS, with Five nurses sharing the highs and lows of their training.

Episode 3 is The Liverpool Story, which is dedicated to those Irish nurses who migrated to Liverpool.

Click here to listen to the Irish Nurses in the NHS podcast.