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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Five Minutes with... our Executive Director of Strategy, People and Partnerships

Published: 11/10/2022

Today, we are touching base with Executive Director of Strategy, People and Partnerships, Patrick Nyarumbu MBE to get to know a bit more about his role. In this Five Minutes With feature, Patrick tells us what inspired him to work in the mental health sector, what the biggest challenges of his job are and his proudest work achievement to date!

We also get to learn more about the man behind the title as a proud father and husband, a devoted son and… an avid plane enthusiast.

Read more about Patrick in the article below.

Hello, Patrick, please can you tell us a little bit about what you do at BSMHFT?

Hello, I’m Patrick Nyarumbu and I'm the Executive Director of Strategy, People and Partnerships for the Trust. You’re probably thinking ‘what does that mean?’, essentially, I have a number of responsibilities, one of which is to support the organisation in delivering our five-year strategy that we launched last year. I am also responsible for Human Resources, Learning and Development, Organisational Development, Communications and strengthening our partnerships, leading on equality, diversity and inclusion… I could go on, but this interview would be a little bit longer than five minutes!

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So, what does a typical day in your life look like, Patrick?

Interesting question, I wouldn't necessarily say that I've got a typical day. Every day comes with different opportunities and different challenges. I think as an executive you have to get used to working like that. I have to be responsive to my teams whenever they have queries for me or issues that require my attention. I also need to be present externally to represent the organisation. I think my days are mixed really in terms of internal meetings and external meetings. I do try to make sure that my day is not too meeting-heavy, if I can call it that. I try to make time to be out and about in different services, we have many sites across the Trust, so it can be a bit of a challenge.

So, a bit of a personal one, but what inspired you to choose your profession?

My mother was a nurse for more than 40 years, even though she has retired now, she still thinks and behaves like a nurse, she is always helping people and looking out for others, including myself. It was really inspiring seeing that growing up, so I decided to go into nursing too, specifically mental health nursing.

Over my career, I have worked in a variety of mental health services such as acute, forensic, community and home treatment. Having had first-hand experience of what it is like to work on the front line I understand some of the challenges and some of the frustrations. We might not get it right all the time and there is always room for improvement, but it is essential that we create the best environment for colleagues to flourish.

Has there ever been a standout moment in your career that you are most proud of?

Years ago, when I was a community psychiatric nurse, I once received a postcard from a service user who had gone on holiday. It might sound small, but the meaning behind that postcard was huge. The individual I was supporting set a goal that they would be well enough to go on holiday one day. After various coping mechanisms and a lot of support sessions, one day a postcard arrived at work. It was from this person to say that they were enjoying their first-ever holiday abroad and that they really appreciated my support. It was really touching. To me, that’s what this work is all about.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

As Executive Directors, we usually receive the news when things haven’t gone so well. It can be quite heart breaking at times as I am sure you can imagine. Those are often the moments that you pause and think, am I doing the right thing? Or what else can we do differently?

If you could say one thing to your younger self, what would it be?

I think if I could say something to my younger self, I would probably say be kind to yourself. We often rush to our goals without stopping to think about our own wellbeing, sadly when you realise that you’re too late, you’re exhausted.

How do you look after your own health and wellbeing?

I have a very loving family. I've got two kids and my wife, and I think that keeps me grounded. The kids keep me very busy because they do lots of activities, my daughter is into gymnastics and my son has been doing cricket and a bit of boxing. When we are out and about it keeps me active and it means I’m not constantly thinking about work when I am in that space where I need to be a father. I try to get to the gym…I'd say three times a week… [Patrick chuckles] I shouldn’t have said that out loud.

What is one thing that people might not know about you?

I am fascinated by planes and how they operate so maybe I am a secret plane spotter.

Describe yourself in three words

Kind, compassionate, humble.

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