Irish rugby star McLaughlin on the front row of the coronavirus battle
BELFAST: Ireland rugby international Claire McLaughlin She says that all the study she did to become a doctor has not prepared her for the challenges she presents coronavirus pandemic.
The 28-year-old is a junior doctor at Ulster. Hospital Accident and Emergency Department.
She told the BBC on Friday, however, that all medical personnel were coming together to form an effective unit to care for the sick.
I could never have imagined being involved in something like this, he said.
It's not something that they really teach you about college and medical school.
But we are all in this together.
Doctors, nurses and all health professionals.
It really shows that we are all coming together as a healthcare system.
As of Thursday 36 people have died of coronavirus in North Ireland with 449 positive tests.
McLaughlin says his hospital has not yet been inundated with cases, but he was taking note of the patterns in other countries as a possible benchmark of what might come next.
It is worrisome because we don't know how bad it is going to be or when it will get to that point, he said.
Obviously, we are taking information about what is happening in China and Italy and looking at how things have been treated and how the virus has affected them and their healthcare systems.
McLaughlin admits sending other patients home in anticipating a host of admissions with coronavirus carries its own risks.
We have had to change the way we handle patients within Accidents and Emergencies (A&E), he said.
There are certain patients that, three or four weeks ago, we would have been admitting to the hospital that we are now sending home.
There are even risks involved in that and in changing the way we do our medical practice.
McLaughlin - capped 16 times since making her Test debut in 2015 - says she has been able to use values she has learned from rugby in her day job.
There are certain things that medical school cannot teach you, he said.
Leadership, communication and team work are all things that rugby has massively helped me to develop.
It has been very important to transfer those skills to medicine and to the daily work that I am doing.
I've learned so much through playing rugby.