“Life Is What You Make It” – How Bronwyne MacRae Finds Calm During the Crisis of a Pandemic

Bronwyne MacRae has turned her hand to many different tasks since joining BRHS in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photos: Jake Lynch/BRHS


“Everyone has a story,” says Bronwyne MacRae.

It’s a little saying that has helped her a lot, over the course of her life.

Bronwyne says it reminds her to always listen to people and be patient with them, at times when they might not be at their best.

After 30 years working in the prison system and corrections (“it was my very first job out of school – I took it to win a bet”), it’s a situation she is well-used to.

Bronwyne’s ability to deal with people during moments of stress or frustration has been a huge asset since she joined BRHS in a clerical support role in December 2019.

Her very first day at work for BRHS was staffing the pop-up COVID testing clinic at the Lakes Entrance Aquadome.

“There were a lot of people waiting for hours in their cars,” she remembers. “There was confusion, people were worried. Obviously, some of them weren’t too happy. But I find that if you just talk with them, let them tell you what’s happening with them, it helps calm them down. Everyone is going through something.”

Since then, Bronwyne has taken on a number of roles for BRHS.

Bronwyne at the Bairnsdale City Oval vaccination clinic with team leader Sue Hutton.

“I love variety,” she says. “I love being able to pick up new skills, to learn new things. Life is what you make it.”

These days Bronwyne has a frontline admin role at our COVID vaccination clinic at the Bairnsdale City Oval.

Oftentimes that work involves dealing with members of the public that are frustrated, confused or angry.

That’s where her learned sense of empathy and understanding has been invaluable in defusing situations and putting people at ease.

(“She’s absolutely amazing,” says her manager at the vaccination clinic, Sue Hutton.)

“If I can meet someone that is maybe not having a good day, and I can put a smile on their face, then that feels really good.”

Bronwyne is just one of many admin and clerical support staff at BRHS that have demonstrating a number of different strings to their bows over the past year, as part of the health service’s pandemic response.

These include Lucita Fehst, Angela Roughley, Leigh Serowka, Nicola Greve and Donna Smith, all of which have risen to the challenge of new tasks with great energy, skill and commitment.

Congratulations, and thank you, to these staff and everyone else at BRHS doing what needs to be done during this challenging time for the health service and the community.