Tallaght Hospital Nurse Makes History in the Area of Inherited Cardiac Conditions

Helen Connaughton becomes the first ever Irish Clinical Nurse Specialist in this area

Helen ConnaughtonOctober 3rd 2016 Helen Connaughton, a nurse working at Tallaght Hospital, has become the first Clinical Nurse Specialist in Ireland in the area of Inherited Cardiac Conditions. Her success marks an important milestone for cardiology and nursing services nationally and in Tallaght Hospital.

As the first Irish Clinical Nurse Specialist in this field, Ms Connaughton is now a national leader in this area and demonstrates the investment and advancements that have taken place in cardiac services at Tallaght Hospital. Ms Connaughton was a Clinical Nurse Manager in the Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) unit for eight years. The CRY unit aims to provide comprehensive specialist evaluation of those diagnosed with or at risk from inherited cardiac conditions, including families who have lost someone to sudden cardiac death. It was developed as a collaboration between Tallaght Hospital, St James’s Hospital, St Vincent’s University Hospital and Trinity College Dublin and is located at Tallaght Hospital. Ms Connaughton’s post was initially funded by The Patches Trust, and for the last five years she has been funded by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY Ireland), who fund much of the activity at the CRYP Unit. 

It is a great honour to achieve this success and to be part of this great leap forward for cardiac services in Ireland,” Ms Connaughton said. “I want to thank all my family and friends who supported me over the years. I am looking forward to continuing to bring my developed skills and experiences to the service of patients who may be suffering with cardiac diseases at Tallaght Hospital. The Hospital, the charities and my colleagues have provided great support to me over the years and I am delighted to be part of a team that is doing so much good for our patients.

Hilary Daly, Director of Nursing at Tallaght Hospital, added, “We are all delighted with Helen’s success. Tallaght Hospital has a strong ethos of ‘People caring for people’ and Helen achieving this professional accreditation enables us to put this ethos into place all the more clearly, in the area of cardiac services. Helen’s additional expertise now as a clinical nurse specialist is a huge asset for the great work that takes place in the unit.


About Tallaght Hospital
Tallaght Hospital is one of Ireland’s largest acute teaching hospitals, providing child-health, adult, psychiatric and age-related healthcare on one site. The hospital has 495 adult beds and 67 paediatric bed with 2,600 people on staff. The Hospital is a provider of local, regional and national specialities. It is also a national urology centre, the second largest provider of dialysis services in the country and a regional orthopaedic trauma centre.

Tallaght Hospital is one of two main teaching hospitals of Trinity College Dublin - specialising in the training and professional development of staff in areas such as nursing, health and social care professionals, emergency medicine and surgery, amongst many others. Tallaght Hospital is part of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group which serves a population of over 1.2 million across seven counties.

A new satellite centre is to be built at Tallaght Hospital as part of the National Children’s Hospital project as a key element of an integrated clinical network for paediatric services nationally.

The hospital’s Emergency Departments catered for 45,551 Adult ED Attendances and 32,272 Paediatric Attendances in 2015. A further 206,169 patients were treated through the hospital’s outpatient clinics in 2015. The hospital’s operations are supported by a community of 200 general practitioners in surrounding communities.

About CRY Ireland and the CRY Centre
CRY Ireland is a registered charity (CY 14506) established in 2002 by Michael and Marie Greene following the death of their son at 15 years of age from sudden cardiac death. The charity has three main objectives:

  1. to raise awareness of cardiac risk in the young (among the medical community as well as the general public)
  2. to provide counselling and support for families affected by SCD
  3. to promote the establishment of a dedicated national screening and counselling service (free to patients from anywhere in Ireland).

CRY- Ireland signed an agreement with the Tallaght Hospital Board in 2006 to develop the Centre for Cardiac Risk in Younger Persons (CRYP) to provide a dedicated, specialist, Consultant-provided service for individuals and families affected by inherited cardiac conditions and sudden cardiac death. The service opened in January 2007, and moved to its current home in the CRYP Centre in November 2008, at which time four full-time staff members, including Ms Helen Connaughton as Clinical Nurse Manager (II) were recruited. The CRYP service has evaluated almost 6,000 patients since it opened. The service has been funded by the CRY Ireland charity, Tallaght Hospital, Trinity College Dublin and many other charitable donations including the Patches Trust, The Adelaide Health Foundation, The Tallaght Hospital Volunteers, the Meath Foundation and the National Children’s Hospital Foundation.