When born-and-bred “local girl” Donna White left college, she followed her passion – straight into care.
But when the care agency she worked for couldn’t provide her with the hours she needed, she became a Healthcare Assistant with the NHS, working at Darent Valley Hospital.
There, she spent three years, until she qualified in May 2023 as a nurse, working at the hospital.
But the shoe still didn’t quite fit.
“I was hitting a brick wall,” says Donna, reflecting on her experiences towards the end of last year. “I just wasn’t enjoying it like I should have been. I remember thinking, ‘I can’t be at this point already!’”
Then, fate intervened. Seeing that ellenor was looking for nurses, Donna applied. And, almost instantly, Donna knew she’d found her Goldilocks space – and that this time, the proverbial porridge wasn’t too hot, or too cold. But just right.
“When I applied for the role, the email I got back from ellenor was so warm and welcoming. I interviewed here right before my birthday, and and I was so happy – proper ecstatic – when I got the job. It made the weekend even better!”
Now, Donna is a Staff Nurse on ellenor’s inpatient ward. She’s working locally – and for the same hospice that supported Donna’s nan in the final days of her life, and provides ongoing care for her gramps from the comfort of his own home.
Best of all, though? Every day, Donna’s learning.
Learning more about the role, of course – and becoming more and more comfortable with the day-to-day responsibilities it comes with. Learning about hospice care – and about the misconceptions that people who’ve never engaged with a hospice hold about them.
But Donna’s also learning more about herself – and that, though the path of her care career to date has taken several interesting twists and turns, it was always heading in one direction.
“I’d always wanted to do palliative care,” Donna explains. “I’d really enjoyed end-of-life care as a carer – then doing it as a Healthcare Assistant in the hospital. It’s always been a passion of mine – I just didn’t think the right role would pop up.
“And it never had – until ellenor.”
The majority of the care experience Donna brings to her role on ellenor’s inpatient ward is from a hospital setting. Now, she’s getting the chance to practice a whole different kind of care. A holistic one, which caters to the patient’s emotional, psychological, and social needs – not only their clinical ones. And practice this holistic care in an environment where nurses have the time, and capacity, to get to know their patients.