In Conversation With...Shawn Bacchus
For this week’s In Conversation With interview we spoke to Shawn Bacchus, from our Clinic Prep team. She recently took part in our first The PRIDE Way 3P event, looking at ways to improve our Outpatients service and redesign services for the future, Shawn shares her view on it.
Lives: In Hornchurch with husband Desmond, who works at HMRC. They have Hannah, 23, an events assistant, and Luke, 18, who is studying music at Coopers’ sixth form.
And: Shawn loves working with children and spent many years as her own children grew up running mother and baby groups and youth clubs at her church.
What’s a typical working day like for you?
Often very busy! I’m a clinic prep clerk so I’m responsible for getting all notes ready for our Outpatient clinics .This includes gathering a patient’s notes and liaising with our medical secretaries and other departments for information and referral letters. I find myself looking for missing notes quite often too! It varies day-to-day and there is lots of running around.
How did you get involved in the 3P event?
I volunteered myself after Ashleigh told us about it. It was for the clinic I work for and I was keen to use it as an opportunity to get more of an insight into what goes on across the hospital.
I also thought it sounded really interesting, looking at how we could transform our clinics. Some of the issues we face are patients not attending appointments, overbooked clinics, missing notes, not enough communication across departments, and not getting referral letters. So anything we can do to tackle those is a good thing.
Tell us more about the event itself
It was mind-blowing. On the first day I looked around the room and saw how many people were involved, including consultants, executives – some really important people – and I thought ‘I’m going to be part of something big’.
At first I wondered what role I could play, but as the week progressed, I saw I could make a difference and felt really inspired to be part of making changes.
It was fun too and there were lots of games. We worked in groups mapping out issues and then creating a system which we thought would work, at one point we were even using Lego to help design it!
We looked at how we could improve patient experience and one thing we were keen to do was have different sections so children, adults and the elderly are not all mixed together.
However, we also had to look at what limitations we face, such as space.
We did some myth busting, at the beginning it was easy to think we’ve done this before and nothing changes. It changed my mind-set so I believe we can make changes.
What I found really encouraging was being in a room where I could see everyone else there really wanted to make a change too. That was really encouraging and left me feeling optimistic.
Thanks for that great insight into our 3P event. Now we’d love to know more about you! We hear you moved to the UK two decades ago from Guyana…
I moved here to continue my studies. When I was younger, I wanted to work in a bank as I loved maths. So I went to college in London and then did a BA in business and finance.
I met my husband Desmond and we got married when I was 24 and I had Hannah while I was still completing my studies.
Desmond is also from Guyana; we met at a cultural event in Battersea Park and really hit it off. He’d moved over a couple of years before.
I never had a plan for whether I was going to stay or return to Guyana, but after Desmond and I got together we decided to stay. The only thing is it’s very cold compared to home – I miss the sunshine!
After I had my children I stayed at home with them for a while, which was nice, but I was keen to get back to my studies so I could have a career myself. I did some part-time work while they were growing up; I worked in Argos, and Sainsbury’s, which I loved as I moved from the shop floor into HR.
I made lots of friends at Sainsbury’s and I still see many of them when I go in to do my shopping.
I first got into healthcare working at a local pharmacy as I wanted to do something different. I love talking to people so I really enjoyed it.
I’ve been at our Trust for around three years after I first saw the Clinic Prep role advertised through an agency. After six months it was put out as a permanent role so I applied and got it. It’s very different to jobs I’ve done in the past.
What else do you like to get up to?
I love travelling; we’ve been to Canada, America, and all over Europe. We try to get away two to three times a year, sometimes the whole family, and sometimes Desmond and I take short breaks. We’re hoping to go to Marrakesh this summer.
I’m also interested in health and fitness. I go to the gym about three times a week and I’m a vegetarian, so I’m really interested in food shows and love cooking.
And I go to church regularly; we go to Holy Cross in Hornchurch. I’ve been very involved in the church over the years, I love working with kids and I used to run youth groups and mum and baby groups. I was also the treasurer of the church for a time.