Celebrations were held at Aut Even Hospital on Wednesday of last week to honour the hospital’s physiotherapy manager, Marie Lanigan, retired after 30 years of working there.
A Dublin native, Ms Lanigan first decided to enter the field of physiotherapy at the suggestion of her father, a doctor, who advised her when she was considering her options for college, that it was a new and up-and-coming profession. So she earned her qualification at University College Dublin and went on to work in Blanchardstown Hospital now known as Connolly Hospital, in 1970. She then worked in some of the Dublin hospitals, and moved to Kilkenny after getting married to her husband, Dr Patrick Lanigan.
What Ms Lanigan loved about the profession, she said, was the opportunity to make a difference in patients’ lives.
“It was a lovely choice, a great profession,” she said. “It’s the patient contact, that you can see the patient getting well. You can do something – it’s hands-on, it’s fulfilling and you are doing something with the patient. It’s just making the patient’s journey in life better and how much you can do for them.”
The biggest change she’s seen over the years, she said, was the expansion of the physiotherapy service and profession – much as her father had predicted in those early years.
“It has embraced a lot more areas over the years as the service had improved and continue on. A lot of the core ones are still there – the orthopaedics and the chest and that – but there are more openings as services come on board,” Ms Lanigan said.
The expansion of services also meant taking on more staff in the process.
“When I went there in the early years, I was the one and only physio there,” she recalled. “In the last couple of years there have been new services come on board – there’s the hips and the knees and the orthopaedic increases – so now we have more staff there. I was able to increase my physio staff and get an occupational therapist on board. It is moving on and upwards with the new services and I would say that would continue.”
As for how she will spend her newfound free time, Ms Lanigan said that for now she’ll take some time to allow herself to make the adjustment.
“I have three daughters and we’re hoping they’ll all come down at Christmas, and we’ll take it from there. I’m just getting used to the concept,” she said. “There is so much going on out there, but I think I’ll just take my time and take it easy, relax, look around and see what’s available. I’ll do a bit of gardening, a bit of painting – there’s so much out there.”
She is taking with the years of memories at Aut Even, whose strong family ethos is an aspect that she enjoyed about working there.
“The Sisters of St John of God were running that when I took it on and I am very grateful for them. There was a particularly nice person there – Sr Mary Mercy Meaney was the matron there and only for her I don’t think I’d ever have been there actually,” Ms Langton said.
“It’s a lovely place. Aut Even is a lovely hospital and I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss the colleagues and the staff and particularly the patients because they are the rapport and the soul of everything.”