I graduated medicine from University College Cork, in Ireland, before quickly diving deep into the world of Anaesthetics. Early in my anaesthetics career, I noticed that for many people, the pain drugs we used didn’t seem to work particularly well. I was left wondering what else I should be suggesting, and what other options could help people with persistent pain.
It was this gap in my knowledge, and my desire to improve people’s pain, that led me to study pain medicine. It was in my first year of pain medicine that I developed an appreciation for the biopsychosocial model of pain. This modal continues to influence my approach to pain care to this day.
I continued my pain management learning when I returned to theatre as a paediatric anaesthetist. From this point forward, I found my two biggest medical passions. Being a doctor that children could trust as they drifted off to sleep for their operations. And helping people find solutions to living with complex chronic pain.
In 2011, I was given the opportunity to combine and further these two passions. I moved here, to Australia, and spent two years at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, while completing further training in both paediatric pain management and anaesthesia.
Over the past eight years, I have worked both in private practices and government-funded paediatric pain clinics. I enjoy working in integrated pain teams: the impact that multidisciplinary care can have, both for a patient and their family, is profound to witness.
I like to bring a holistic approach to the care I provide. I believe persistent pain is almost always multifactorial, and therefore, requires a multifaceted treatment plan. Working in partnership with other health professionals, such as physiotherapists or psychologists, allows us to deliver far more personal, well-rounded care.
I’m also very passionate about equipping patients with the knowledge they need to make informed medical decisions. Considering medications or procedures can be daunting, especially when you’re unfamiliar with them. I find that helping people to better understand their pain, helps them gain a sense of control and confidence on their road to recovery.