Welcome to the Nursing Department Home Page

A Profile of the Nursing Department in the South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital, Cork.


Overview of Department

The Nursing Department in the South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital is a dynamic and progressive Department consisting of nursing Staff and 45 healthcare assistants. The Department is led by Ms. Ruth Lernihan, Director of Nursing. Ms. Lernihan is supported by a management team of Assistant Directors of Nursing, ward/unit based Clinical Nurse Managers and Clinical Nurse Specialists. The nursing department plays a central role and is an active member of the organisational team in the development, management and effective delivery of care and services. The Nursing Service is divided into two Directorates (groups of wards/units) which are managed by Assistant Directors of Nursing. Shared governance, as a concept, is encouraged within the nursing department where nurses at all levels actively participate in decision-making and solution generating processes.   The Clinical Nurse Managers work together with staff nurses and care assistants to ensure the provision of a high quality of nursing care to the patient across clinical services.  The Director of Nursing is a member of the Executive Management Board Nursing is also represented on the Board of Directors and Nursing is also represented on the Clinical Governance Committee.


Philosophy of Nursing Care

The philosophy of Nursing Care is inherent in the care provided to patients attending the South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital. The patient, as an individual with individual rights, is the central focus of nursing practice.  The nursing service participates in a multidisciplinary team approach to patient care and encourages collaboration with the wider multidisciplinary team to include patient’s relatives. The provision of high quality patient-centred care underpinned by evidence, best practice and professional guidelines is an important value for nurses at the South Infirmary - Victoria University Hospital. Clinical staff encourage patient independence and involvement in their care. The Nursing Department commitment to providing quality patient care is highlighted through its participation in a continuous quality improvement initiative which requires regular auditing of practice and feedback from patients.


Quality of Care

The provision of a high quality of care is facilitated through the ongoing education of the Nursing Staff which is motivated by patients needs. We place a strong focus on and support the professional and personal development of Nurses and healthcare assistants working within the Department. Study leave policies are available and financial support is also available for relevant courses.  Staff have pursued and is continuing to pursue third level education in the form of higher diplomas, post graduate diplomas, primary degrees and post-graduate studies to Doctoral Level. Attendance at other courses relevant to patient care and the work environment are encouraged and supported. A comprehensive In-Service Education Programme based on staff education needs analysis is provided on-site to enhance Nursing Staff knowledge, clinical skills and meet their education needs.  Healthcare assistants are supported in undertaking a FETAC qualification and participating and attending in the Inservice programme.



The South Infirmary - Victoria University Hospital has a long association with Nurse training and education. The South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital is an independent clinical site for University College Cork (UCC) undergraduate Nursing student clinical placements. Nursing students experience a variety of learning opportunities in a supportive and effective clinical learning environment to allow them to Clinical Learning Outcomes and develop, achieve competencies which will enable them register with An Bord Altranais on successful completion of their BSc. programme. Clinical placements for post-graduate courses are also facilitated from the wider 3rd level institutions.

Opportunities are available to nursing students to integrate and apply theory to practice and to appreciate the role that Nursing plays within the health care system. Nursing students learning experience is enhanced through the support provided by highly motivated clinical staff, clinical placement co-ordinators and support services. A recent collaborative audit of the clinical learning environment by the nursing department and UCC found the South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital as providing an excellent clinical learning environment for nursing students. Recognition of the knowledge and experience of Nursing Staff in the South Infirmary-Victoria Hospital and their willingness to share their knowledge and experience is consistently evident from student feedback.

The South Infirmary - Victoria University Hospital is renowned for its friendliness and homely atmosphere by both patients and nurses.  Family friendly initiatives enhance Nurses opportunities to progress in their career and encourages them to remain in the Health Service while facilitating fulfilment of family commitments and a healthy work-life balance. Support services such as Occupational Health, the Employee Assistance Programme and Stress Management Programme promote retention of staff. The Nursing Staff compliment reflects a response to health strategies and policies devised by the Department of Health and Children.


Practice Development

The South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital is committed to and fosters a culture of practice development.   Through practice development initiatives, training and education, we endeavour to promote and facilitate the continuing professional and personal development of nursing staff in order to enable them to provide a high standard of evidenced based care for patients and their families. A positive approach is taken to the enhancement of the role of the nurse through expansion of practice within the Scope of Practice Framework (An Bord Altranais, 2000).  Staff are encouraged to pursue clinical career pathways and are supported by the organisation.   Development of Practice is based on the attainment of competency.The Nursing Practice Development person also ensures an effective clinical learning environment for nursing students.

Nursingstaff act as a resource for health service providers throughout the country and facilitate visits to the hospital by clinical, academic and service procedures staff. Nursing staff sit on local and national committees relevant to their areas of practice and hold officer positions. Facilitated and encouraged by Nursing Management, Nursing Staff have been involved in the organisation of national conferences and are regularly invited to be guest speakers at conferences.


Director of Nursing:-      

Ruth Lernihan


Assistant Directors of Nursing (Days):-  

  • Catherine Martin
  • Phil McKenna
  • Fiona McGinley

Assistant Directors of Nursing (Out of Hours)

  • Noreen O’Sullivan
  • Rachel Barry

Assistant Directors of Nursing (Nights):-

  • Brenda Dillon
  • Maggie Walsh
  • Elma Killeen

Nurse Practice Development Co-ordinator:-

  • Brenda O'Brien

Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP):-

  • Marie Heffernan


Page last updated: 31/05/2019
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South Infirmary

Victoria University Hospital

A teaching hospital

of University College Cork