Year of the Nurse – Jane Donaldson, Sister – Focus on Living Centre

Each month we are profiling one of our amazing nurses to celebrate International Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020.  This year is an opportunity to say thank you to the professions; to showcase their diverse talents and expertise; and to promote nursing and midwifery as careers with a great deal to offer.

This month, meet Jane Donaldson, Sister in our Focus on Living Centre:


Tell us about your current role…

I’ve worked at St Oswald’s for over 13 years now and my current role is Sister in the Focus on Living Centre. I’m responsible for co-ordinating the care for patients and their families and supporting the Focus on Living Team, including staff and volunteers.

Before I joined St Oswald’s I worked for many years in the community as a Home Carer and then as a Macmillan Carer – I look back on those years with great affection. These roles gave me the opportunity to gain confidence and experience and through this I knew I wanted to pursue a nursing career and ultimately work in a palliative care setting one day.

After completing my Adult Nurse training in 2007 I applied for a position in Day Services at the Hospice.  As a newly qualified nurse I was very happy to be offered the post. I undertook this role for two years and found it very rewarding with many opportunities to learn and grow. I then applied for a secondment to work in the Lymphoedema Clinic as a Nurse Specialist.  This gave me the opportunity to gain new clinical skills and develop personally. After eight years in this role an opportunity came up to apply for the role of Sister in our Focus on Living Centre. I’m pleased to say I was successful and have been doing this role for the last three years.  

I consider myself very fortunate to have worked for such a great organisation in different roles.


Tell us about a typical day…

Things are obviously very different at the moment but prior to COVID-19 a typical day for me would be working with the multi-disciplinary team in the Focus on Living Centre to plan and provide our care services.  We all work together to ensure our patients and their families holistic needs are met as they attend different activities in our Focus on Living Centre.

Although our service has remained open during this time we have adapted to continue to meet the patient’s needs.  We are currently offering ongoing telephone support, using virtual technology for online group sessions such as art therapy and branching out into community visits, as we feel are required.

As a team we meet regularly to discuss future planning to ensure we are continuing to adapt to meet our patient’s needs during this difficult time. We couldn’t have predicted this pandemic and how much we would all be affected so our team have been offering a lot of emotional support as well as practical.

As I’m part of the Day Services Leadership Team I have also been offering support to my Lymphoedema colleagues over the past few months.  


Tell us why nursing, as a career, is rewarding…

For me nursing is first and foremost about kindness and compassion and treating people with dignity and respect. I feel that nursing has allowed me to grow and adapt in my own life and learn more about myself along the way, facing challenges and sharing experiences I will never forget.

I feel very proud to say I’m part of the team at St Oswald’s. It’s a real privilege to be part of our patients and their families’ journey whilst they are under our care. 


What would you say to someone considering a career in nursing in a Hospice?

Working in a hospice can be challenging at times so it’s very important to reflect often and have confidence in your own abilities. It’s also important to take full advantage of training and support in your organisation and always strive to learn from your peers, this is invaluable and I’ve learnt so much from the teams at St Oswald’s.

Working as a nurse in palliative care is an incredibly rewarding role. I remember my very first day at the Hospice, walking up the stairs to the locker room, I was so scared and unsure of what I was going to face, but I knew that palliative care was where my heart lay and by taking that first step it has brought me such personal reward. 

It couldn’t be more timely that the World Health Organization designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. The courageous work of nurses and other healthcare workers in the face of Coronavirus does honour to the Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020 and the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Find out more about the Year of the Nurse and Midwife here

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