'I started Nurse Training on 10th March 1975'

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'I started Nurse Training on 10th March 1975'


Ita McClelland describes her working life and career as a nurse.


Ita McClelland


Trinity College Dublin




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Ita McClelland

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Work and Employment


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Co. Armagh

Temporal Coverage


Life Story Item Type Metadata


I started Nurse training on 10th March 1975 at Craigavon Area Hospital - Southern Area Group School of Nursing. There were almost fifty in our intake, girls and fells from both sides of the border, mostly from Armagh, Monaghan and Louth. I made many good friends during the 3 - 4 years and trailing and still keep in contact with quest a few, in particular: Patricia Murray from Emyvale, Co. Monaghan - now Fogarty, Dublin, Mary Magrane from Dunleer, Co. Louth - now Clarke, Clonee, Co. Meath, and Patricia Livingstone from Clady, Co. Armagh - now Magrane, Cooley, Co. Louth. I think my first pay during my training was about フᆪ66 (rent was taken out). I bought a sterling silver charm bracelet with some charms on it in a second hand shop. I added a few more charms over the years. I still have it. Our training group got on very well together and with other groups above and below us and when a reunion was planned for our 25th anniversary in 2000 there was a great turn out. A more impromptu get together was planned again in 2010 when two of our friends both happened to be home from the U.S.A. at the same time. Davey Downey from Armagh and Linda Mullen from near Ballybay Co. Monaghan had both emigrated shortly after they finished their training and both have married Americans and have remained in America. In November, 1978, I took up my first staff nurse post in the psychiatric unit at C.A.H. after I finished my R.M.N. training, which I did immediately after my general trailing. During my training I spent some time working in St. Luke's Hospital in Armagh. This was the area Psychiatric Hospital which had evolved from the old Workhouse and Asylum in bygone days. I loved my spells there and this is what encouraged me to do Mental Health Nursing. The atmosphere around St. Luke's was great, staff were very helpful and the patients were given the highest quality of care. After working in the Psychiatric unit for approximately three years a post came up in the community which I applied for and was successful. I completed the necessary course at Purdysburn Hospital in Belfast in 1984 and have worked as a Community Psychiatric Nurse since that time in various settings. During the 1980's I worked closely with Veronica (Ronnie) Toland Mary McCraron and we all became very good friends and remain close. In 1994 I was asked to work as Manager of a ten bed hostel and a twenty place Day Centre for adults with Mental Health problems. Whilst there I gained a certificate in Health Services Management from U.U.J. Although it was initially meant to be for a two year period I remained there until 1998 when I joined the community team working with older people with mental health problems. A year later when I learned that a new team was being set up for older people with memory problems and dementia I applied to transfer and was successful. I have been with this team since then until present.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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