'I love my work, but do ask myself "why am I putting up with this?"'

Mother-of-two Catherine Sheridan is a 46-year-old children’s nurse who works in Co Galway. She said she’s striking because of what she sees “every single day”.

She is among 40,000 nurses including staff nurses, midwives and psychiatric nurses who are getting ready to mount pickets this Wednesday. They want a 12pc pay rise to put their wages on a par with other professional grades.

“It’s as simple as that,” said Ms Sheridan, who grew up in Carna, Connemara.

“Nurses and midwives are facing absolutely dire working conditions every day. The pay levels just aren’t attractive enough to retain nursing staff. Working short has become the new normal for us.”

She said paediatric nursing requires specialist training and nurses with particular skills who can look after sick children. “But they’re leaving. Poor pay and conditions are driving them out. These are highly skilled, dedicated nurses, and they’re burning out. I love nursing. But I do ask myself, what am I doing here, ‘why am I putting up with this?'”

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