Connected Conversations | Shannon Barnes

After a successful career as a registered nurse of 15 years, Shannon Barnes now has her sights set on a PhD. Combining a passion for clinical healthcare and evidence-based research, she proves that the health industry opens doors to endless opportunities.

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Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name’s Shannon and I’m currently completing a PhD with the JBI (formerly the Joanna Briggs Institute), researching grief, PTSD, and family partnership through systematic review methodologies. I love that my research contributes to the evidence base and can lead to improved clinical practice and better health care. I get to combine my passion for high quality evidence and health care with my enjoyment of using technology to find and synthesise research. I’m excited about the possibilities my research could bring.

How did you get to where you are today?

I’ve been a registered nurse for almost 15 years and have enjoyed working in a variety of environments. A big change for me was moving from clinical practice into education. It was not how I had expected my nursing career to go and yet I’ve enjoyed the different things it has brought into my work life. This also motivated me to pursue further studies that have now opened up new opportunities. 

Why would you encourage some to pursue a career in health?

Health is an industry that offers variety in career direction, while also giving you the opportunity to make a positive contribution to peoples’ lives. 

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on a systematic review exploring whether partnering with families in paediatric intensive care units can improve family stress, depression and other psychological outcomes. I have learned so much through the process of collaborating with an international team to complete this review. We’re hoping to create the evidence that helps health professionals better support patients and families going through very difficult circumstances. 

How do you relax or switch off? 

On an especially difficult day, my favourite thing to do is head to the beach to let go of the stress of the day and enjoy being in nature. Prioritising that balance can be hard and I sometimes need reminders to get there but it recharges me for everything else I need to do. I also take classes in classical ballet, which has been so great for both my physical and mental wellbeing.

Name three things you won’t forget about the past year…

  • Home is a really great place until you’re not allowed to leave. 
  • There’s something special about the connection that came from the knowing smile from a stranger as we dodge each other on the footpath to maintain social distancing. 
  • Even in the middle of a pandemic, there are still things to be grateful for–I’ve missed out on so much peak hour traffic this year and that can only be a good thing!
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