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Donna White Banner

How Donna Reinvigorated Her Passion for Nursing and Revitalised Her Career – With ellenor

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.

ellenor offers so many different services,” Donna explains, “which provide so much peace of mind for patients and families. There’s a range of complementary therapies, a chaplaincy service – and so much more.

“When patients are admitted, we’re able to spend a lot of time just talking to them. To understand their wishes, and those of their family. To understand what’s been going on prior to their admission, and answer any questions they may have.”

It’s why, when asked what skills a nurse needs to thrive on ellenor’s inpatient ward – or out, in the Kent communities, delivering care from the homes of patients – Donna’s reply is swift and simple.

“Communication skills; being able to talk to someone, and their family. I don’t just mean talking, either – because it’s how you sit with them; how you engage with them. That can be as simple as not having your arms crossed while speaking to them, sitting beside them, or kneeling beside the bed.

“Communication is such a major part of nursing. And a lot of people forget that.”

Donna has been at ellenor for 8 months. So how’s she finding it?

“Everyone’s been really nice,” she says. “Really helpful. The other staff here are always so ready to lend a hand. They’re more understanding of where you’ve come from, and your background – so are more forthcoming with their knowledge.

ellenor’s one of those places where you get the support you need.”

So how does the future look for Donna? 

Well, she has her sights set firmly on becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist – a dream she hopes, with ellenor, to make a reality.

And, finally – how does the future look for anyone wanting to pursue a career in nursing?

 ellenor has many exciting opportunities for aspiring, ambitious nursing staff who want to be part of a tight-knit team. Could you follow in Donna’s footsteps – either on ellenor’s inpatient ward, or within its team of nurses caring for patients from their own homes?

“If you want somewhere that’ll provide you with the teamwork and support systems you’re looking for, consider ellenor,” Donna says. “ellenor will be there for you as you learn, grow, and upskill – with all the education and motivation you need.”

“You’ll also be part of an environment where the care is second to none. That feels homely and family-oriented, rather than medicalised; and where you can truly make a difference.”