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  • Southside

Dublin roofer’s fall leads to new career as midwife

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019 1:00pm
Dublin roofer’s fall leads to new career as midwife

Former roofer Paul Byrne at his new job.

Dublin roofer’s fall leads to new career as midwife

Former roofer Paul Byrne at his new job.

ROOFER Paul Byrne made a dramatic career change when an accident left him hospitalised for several months.

The 50-year-old Southsider fell off a roof, breaking 11 bones. So during his recuperation, he decided to retrain… as a midwife! 

 “I knew my days as a roofer were over and the dedication of the nurses really made an impression on me,” he explained. “It got me thinking about nursing as a career and midwifery seemed the most life affirming of the 25 or so specialisms.

 “The majority of us go through our working lives without feeling we are making much of a difference and I grabbed the opportunity. It sounds odd but falling off that roof gave me another shot at life.”

 The education system had other ideas when faced with a middle-aged builder who had left school at 15 with no qualifications and wanted to enter an almost exclusively female profession.

 Paul, who comes from Sandyford, was refused a grant to do a one-year access course and paid his way by returning part-time to roofing, despite doctors saying another fall could kill him.

 He passed with distinction, winning a place at the University of West London. 

Paul added: “I had to move from Ireland and start from scratch in student digs. It wasn’t easy but where there is will, there is a way.

It’s 40 years since men were first allowed to train as midwives in the UK, and they still make up a tiny proportion of the profession

 Paul is one of less than 200 males working in the 40,000 strong profession and has learnt not to take thing personally.

 “I’ve had 118 refusals and counting - and that has largely been male partners being uncomfortable with me being present. I love midwifery but it is a demanding job.

 Paul describes his role as a cheerleader, saying mother delivers babies, not midwives - although a safe pair of hands is always available if complications arise. 

 So what do people think about his midlife career change?

 “My family and friends are very supportive and when I tell strangers what I do they usually say just say ‘wow!’

 “I’m proud to be a midwife but don’t see myself as anything out of the ordinary. What I have learnt is that it’s never too late to be the person you could have been.”

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWUH) is one of the largest integrated healthcare trusts in the country, providing hospital and community services to the people of Harrow, Brent and Ealing.

Established in October 2014, their team of 9,000 clinical and support staff serve a diverse population of approximately one million people.

As well as delivering community services across the three London boroughs, it provides acute hospital services at Northwick Park Hospital, St Mark’s Hospital, Ealing Hospital and Central Middlesex Hospital

Its stroke service is rated the best in the country and St Mark’s Hospital is an internationally renowned specialist centre for colorectal disease, based at Northwick Park Hospital.

It is a research active Trust with more than 5,000 patients taking part in clinical trials last year and it plays a vital role in the education and training of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

In December 2017, it was officially named a 'university teaching hospital' in recognition of the important role it plays in training clinicians.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here