Sonia Gamblen is the Director of Nursing for Tairawhiti District Health, a position which also carries the DHB portfolio for quality and risk management, and as such has great influence on patient safety.
Sonia’s nursing experience has been gained in three health care systems; England, Scotland and New Zealand. In her senior nursing roles she has worked across professional groups and health agencies to improve processes, systems and patient experiences.
Sonia describes her journey in making patient safety paramount: “About 12 years ago I started asking myself, and the people with whom I worked ‘Why do patients have so very differing experiences of health care? Why does patient A have a good experience and patient B have a completely different experience?’. I have seen marvellous patient outcomes, but also patients suffering various forms of harm as a result of their hospital experiences – and while I firmly believe none of these were intentional, they were often not seen as preventable. The change in thinking – to consider and implement measures that prevent adverse patient outcomes – makes it an exciting time to be working in health care”.
Sonia represents the national DHB Directors of Nursing group on this project, providing a link between the Programme’s work and nursing leadership in each DHB. Sonia also makes a specific connection with Carey Campbell, Chair of the New Zealand Private Surgical Hospital Association Directors of Nursing.