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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Becoming a doctor cured all uncertainty for Louise

'I thought I'd missed my chance to do medicine'

Claire McCormack

Published 28/08/2014 | 02:30

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Dr Louise O'Rourke

DESPITE qualifying as a radiotherapist, medicine was always in the back of Louise O'Rourke's mind, and eventually she had to take action.

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"In sixth year, I couldn't articulate that I wanted to do medicine, for fear of not getting it," said Louise, from Waterfall, Cork.

Lacking some conviction, she decided not to put medicine on her CAO application and opted to study radiation therapy in the UK instead.

"I felt so forlorn that I wasn't doing medicine; I thought I'd missed my chance", said Louise, whose parents are psychiatric nurses.

After qualifying, Louise secured a job at Cork University Hospital, where she stayed for 10 years.

"I was happy to a degree, I was doing something important and of value to people, but at the same time, I knew I wanted to be a doctor," she said.

Finally, Louise saw "an open door" through the graduate entry medical programme at the University of Limerick. She applied, got accepted, and "righted herself".

Although the course was long and tough, the recent graduate said it's great for non-Leaving Cert students. She said the majority of her classmates were in their 20s and 30s.

"The points system excludes a cohort who could be brilliant. Traditionally, there was only one option but now there are so many routes, I don't think people realise that. For me, it was like winning the lotto", she said.

Although her experience of hospitals was an advantage, Louise and her 96 classmates really valued the critical-thinking skills they developed on the post-graduate course.

"It's all about problem-based learning and investigating", said Louise, now an intern at Mercy University Hospital Cork.

Irish Independent

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