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Connacht Tribune

NUI Galway study to research burnout among nurses



A national study at NUI Galway will examine how burnout is affecting nurses.

The study involving up to 1,000 nurses is particularly focusing on how burnout can impact on the mental well-being of nurses and their capacity to treat and care for the over 65s.

Lead researcher Natasha Fitzgerald-Yau, a psychologist in clinical training at the School of Psychology in NUIG, says burnout is characterised by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment.

“The general consensus among researchers is that emotional exhaustion seems to be the core dimension of burnout. It is not surprising then that burnout is particularly higher for those working in the health care profession and that includes medical staff, support workers, and carers,” she explained.

“Interestingly what the studies are showing all over the world is that nurses have the highest levels of burnout compared to other health care professionals. Our national research study hopes to examine the extent to which burnout is a problem for nurses working in Ireland in terms of its prevalence and its association with a range of psychological outcomes for staff.

The study will examine how stress affects people’s capacity to mentalise.

“Mentalising means being aware of what is going on in our own minds, that is our thoughts, feelings, intentions, etc., and in other people’s minds. It is the attachment processes between staff and patients that helps to foster and maintain the capacity to mentalise,” she explains.

“When staff are feeling over-pressurised, this attachment relationship can become disrupted or fail to develop. If the ability to mentalise gets compromised, then this may explain why both patients and staff alike report feeling objectified within the healthcare system.”

A recent survey in 2016 of nursing staff across 200 hospitals in Belgium, England, Finland, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland found that nearly a third showed signs of burnout. A similar proportion were dissatisfied with their job.

Another study last October based on interviews with nurses in three emergency departments across Ireland revealed that many leave the profession because of stress.

They feel they are “often forced to engage in a sliding scale of care resulting in reduced dignity for patients”.

They pointed to older patients being particular at risk as they were less critical and are less likely to complain.

“Without a doubt, older age patients are a vulnerable group and are at greater risk of fragmented care in hospitals. The number of patients over the age of 65 accessing medical services will continue to increase as the population ages,” Natasha stated.

“Studies have shown that the length of time an individual spends in hospital is positively correlated to age. The longer a person remains in hospital, the more exposed they become to risk of physical and/or mental deterioration as a result of iatrogenic illness or injury.

“Older patients are more like to be readmitted into hospital than younger patients shortly after being discharged. This national study will help identify some of the challenges which hospitals face in adjusting to a growing older population.”

She believes the research will also support recommendations for the development of policies and intervention approaches to address this critical area.

“In the context of austerity measures leading to cuts in spending on public health services in Ireland, it is particularly important for policymakers and managers to have good evidence on which to base decisions on nurses working experience, working environment and further training.”

Nurses can participate in the research by visiting the survey link at

Connacht Tribune

‘Give even one big GAA game to Ballinasloe’



It’s the most centrally located ground in the country but Ballinasloe’s Duggan Park won’t host a single inter-county match this year – much to the annoyance of one local councillor who wants the GAA to allocate at least one big game to the venue.

Cllr Michael Connolly told a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that the ground is entitled to host major football and hurling fixtures – even though all but one of the Galway footballers’ home league games are assigned to Pearse Stadium with the other one in Tuam.

“If they gave us one match in Duggan Park, it would be something,” he said. “But at the moment, it seems as if it is being ignored.”

The Moylough councillor described it as the most accessible ground in the country and a venue in which players and supporters like to travel to – unlike, he suggested, Pearse Stadium.

He said that it was “a hateful venue” and few GAA supporters relished the prospect of travelling to the “far side of the city” to watch a football or hurling match.

A recent meeting in Gullane’s Hotel to discuss Duggan Park was attended by Deputy Denis Naughton, Senator Aisling Dolan, Cllr Evelyn Parsons and Cllr Declan Kelly among others.

But the Duggan Park Committee then issued a statement saying that the ground is owned by Galway GAA and any use of the facility needed to be authorised – and no authorisation was given to the meeting organiser, former Mayor of Ballinasloe Joe Kelly, for this purpose.

Mr Kelly has been a staunch campaigner for the redevelopment of Duggan Park and has called on the local authority to row in behind this initiative.

They went on to say that there is a plan in place for the development of Duggan Park which is multiple staged which started with the new dressing rooms, flood lights and a new entrance to the venue.

Planning permission is in place for this development and that €500,000 has already been spent in the Duggan Park over the past number of years carrying out these projects.

The work in the ground, they say, is done to an excellent standard by local contractors with the support of the previous Town Council for grants and sports capital grants.

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Connacht Tribune

Former tourism magnet officially on register of derelict sites



The fire-ravaged hotel that was once one of the most popular in the county is now officially considered a derelict site – and that has led a local councillor to call for it to be either redeveloped or levelled.

Portumna’s Shannon Oaks Hotel, for so long popular with anglers and golfers in particular, has been boarded up for more than a decade since it was destroyed by fire.

Local councillor, Jimmy McClearn, has called on the owners to reopen or sell the property – adding that it should either be levelled or redeveloped.

“We are a tourist town and we need a hotel. The last thing we want is for a hotel to be shut up,” he said.

“It is a fine facility and on an extensive site so there is no reason why it should be boarded up,” he added.

The Shannon Oaks saga has gone on for the past twelve years – but now the owners, the multi-millionaire Comer brothers, will be forced to pay a derelict site levy if they do not reopen or redevelop.

That amounts to a seven per cent levy based on the market value of the property, which is worth around €1 million even in its derelict state.

The Shannon Oaks was ravaged by fire in September 2011 and four years later, the site was acquired by the Comer Group who, at the time, gave an undertaking that it would be reopened.

Around two years ago, planning permission was granted by Galway County Council to Barry Comer of the Comer Group to renovate the hotel by providing 60 new bedrooms along with 40 apartments to the rear of the structure.

However, there has been little or no movement on the site since then and now the owners are being again asked to give some indication as to when the hotel will be rebuilt.

It is considered an integral part of the tourism industry for the town and that is why pressure is mounting on the owners to rebuild the hotel.

Cllr McClearn said that all he is asking for is the owners to develop the site and provide a hotel there. “It’s not much to ask in a tourist town,” he added.

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Connacht Tribune

More than €200,000 worth of cannabis seized in East Galway



More than €200,000 worth of cannabis was seized in during two separate search operations in East Galway on Saturday.

Gardai from the Divisional Drugs Unit conducted a search at a residence in Aughrim and seized cannabis plants with an estimated street value of €146,000 and €20,000 worth of cannabis herb which will now be sent for analysis.

Two men (both in their 30s) were arrested at the scene in connection with the investigation and are currently detained at Galway Garda station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996.  Both men remain in custody.

A separate search was carried out at a residence in Ballinasloe yesterday afternoon and cannabis herb with an estimated street value of €35,000 was seized. Cannabis jellies and €7,510 in cash were also seized.

A man in his 40s was arrested and later released without charge and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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