Coffee Break with Brona Shaw

20th July 2021
Brona Shaw
Take a break and get to know Deputy Director of Nursing for Safety Quality and Patient Experience, Brona Shaw.

Q.1 – What do you do and why do you do it?

I am the Deputy Director of Nursing for Safety Quality and Patient Experience.
As a young child, I wanted to be a nurse. I remember visiting my grandfather in the Royal Victoria Hospital when I was about four. I was in awe of the nurses.
I watched how they cared for the patients, how kind they seemed and how happy they looked in their work. I loved their uniforms: in those days, they wore starched whited aprons and a nurses fall rather than a cap. They looked so smart. That year, Father Christmas brought me my own nurses’ uniform and I wore it daily, my mum had to wash it at night when I was in bed; the only time she could take it off me.

I am passionate about Nursing and Midwifery. Nurses and Midwives make up the largest part of the workforce in the Trust: they are highly educated and skilled colleagues. Professionals who provide first class treatment and care to increasingly complex patients while remaining the cornerstone of care and compassion for patients, users and families who access our services. I am proud to be a senior member of the Nursing and Midwifery team and of my role in the delivery of safe,
quality services and that is why I do it.

Q.2 – How do patients benefit from what you do?
My role encompasses Safety, Quality and Patient Experience. These elements are fundamental to the prevention and reduction of risks, errors and harm that occur to patients during provision of health care in the organisation. Learning from errors and adverse incidents is important and looking at ways to support teams to continually improve is key to my role. Patient safety is fundamental to delivering quality essential health services, the benefits to patients and their families are that they have a positive experience when they encounter our staff and services, they spend less days in hospital and have better health outcomes.

Q.3 – Tell us about a typical day at work?

Every day is so different and I need to be able to be as responsive as possible should anything need to be addressed quickly. From 8am I try to spend the first hour catching up on emails or completing pieces of work. I check in with my team around 9am. I like to see everyone, ask them how they are and give them the opportunity to see me and discuss any issues they need support with before the day starts.
My day is usually full of meetings, having such a broad remit. I sit on many committees and groups internal and external to the Trust. Before Covid, this would have meant I spent some time travelling between sites to go to meetings but now everything happens online. In the afternoon, between meetings, I make phone calls and work on the actions that have come about through the day. Around 4 o’clock, I will check what I have to do the next day and make sure that I have the required papers which I read in the evenings when I get home.

Q.4. – If one of your staff was sitting with you right now what is the best piece of advice you could give them?

I would tell them, ‘You are good enough’. I really believe that we all spend far too much time worrying about not being ‘good enough’.

Q.5. – Tell us about the satisfaction you get from your job?Brona Shaw

My job satisfies me because it is engaging; it forces me to stretch myself, I learn something new every day! Some of the best days are when I get to work with nurses and midwives; I am endlessly impressed at how amazing they are. I enjoy working with a range of colleagues from the different professions in the Trust; I think being able to listen to and appreciate everyone’s opinion helps me look at things with a sharper focus.

Q.6. –Tell us a little about your life outside of work?

Outside of work, I keep very busy. I am a runner and try to cover about 10km four times a week. Running keeps me in balance, I use it as a way to see friends and I am a supporter of the Park Run, especially at Victoria Park Belfast, as there is always good coffee and cake afterwards. I take on regular projects that have in the past, included knitting, crochet, and painting, currently am trying to teach myself the guitar. My family are very important in my life and without their support. I would not be able to achieve so much.