Working Life with Fiona Kirwan, Director of Nursing at Beacon Hospital

Fiona Kirwan, Director of Nursing, Beacon Hospital, Sandyford

Working Life with Fiona Kirwan, Director of Nursing at Beacon Hospital

Fiona Kirwan, Director of Nursing, Beacon Hospital, Sandyford


I’m the early bird. My children, Jack, 26, Jennifer, 23, and Ellen, 19, are up before I leave, but the days of worrying about them in the mornings are long gone!

My commute is ideal — five minutes from home to work.


The format for the first three hours is fairly structured: I’ve a multidisciplinary team handover meeting every morning with the senior nursing and medical teams, to discuss any concerns or issues that occurred overnight.

I follow up with the nursing supervisor to ensure staffing levels are adequate for the next 24 hours.


We have a “bed huddle”, a quick information exchange to see what patients are coming in and who is being discharged, to ensure we can accommodate everyone and plan the flow of patients through the organisation.


I grab a coffee before heading into a series of meetings.

We have committees looking after everything from patient safety, infection control, to drug and therapeutics. I meet with them regularly.

As nursing leader, I look after the day-to-day clinical operations, manage 450 nurses, and I’m the go-to person for any problems that arise so the rest of my day can be unpredictable — from dealing with an influx of patients in the emergency department, a staffing issue, or a critical patient being transferred to ICU.


We’ve a 10-minute bed huddle to make sure everything’s on track.


I try to dedicate afternoons to project work. As part of the management team, I’m involved in planning new developments from a clinical perspective.

We intend to open a 19-bed ward later this year, and I’m involved in the sign-off of the plans and equipment and ensuring staff are in place for when the unit is ready to open.


We undergo an accreditation process every three years. I’m involved in preparing the nursing side of the organisation for re-accreditation in November, so I spend one afternoon a week with nursing colleagues looking at quality care standards.


After evening handover, I return to my office to address outstanding queries before going home.


We try to sit down as a family for evening meals but my children’s sporting activities can get in the way!

I like to visit my parents or go for walks with my husband Kevin.

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