Working Life: Suzanne Garvey, director, hospital operations, Beacon Hospital

Suzanne Garvey talks us through a typical day in her job in the Beacon Hospital


Home is just seven minutes from the hospital in Sandyford, so with no real commute to speak of, I’m at my desk by 7am, with a ‘dashboard of activity’ ready to go by 7.30am. The dashboard maps out the day’s workload and workflow from a clinical perspective and is key to ensuring that our elective programme runs smoothly. When patients are booked in for procedures, we want to make sure they go ahead. .


I sit down with Fiona Kirwan, director of nursing to discuss logistics. It’s a busy hospital so we do a lot of forward planning around staffing and bed capacity. Our emergency department is open 10am-7pm every day.


I oversee the clinical activity in the hospital including patient safety, quality and risk management at Beacon and every Wednesday morning we hold a patient safety meeting attended by up to 40 staff members. Any safety issues that arose during the week are discussed and we identify where improvements can be made. We encourage staff to self-report - it’s not a punitive environment.


I try to get out for a half hour walk at lunchtime — I’m a huge believer in the restorative qualities of a good night’s sleep, healthy eating and exercise. A balanced lifestyle makes for a more balanced approach to life, including how we react to situations at work.


Administration is part and parcel of what I do, so I spend a portion of the afternoon going through reports, responding to emails and forward planning. I also have groundwork to do in preparation for our monthly board meeting. I report to the CEO and board of directors on all clinical issues.


I set aside paperwork if I need to respond to a patient safety issue. We encourage our unit managers to see their patient’s everyday and to deal with any complaints that arise at unit level. As a nurse for almost 30 years, I remain very patient centred.


I tidy up any outstanding issues, and set out the agenda for the following day before heading home to my fantastic husband and our two gorgeous dogs.

Travel is one of the things I love most, so when I’ve time off, we head abroad, either to Spain, or, on alternate years, a more exotic destination.


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