Jane Simons received a Senior Leader Scholarship in 2018 and recently participated in her Celebration Day to be awarded her certificate. We love hearing from our alumni members and Jane gave us this lovely interview from Qatar where she moved seven weeks ago to continue her nursing career overseas.

Jane outlined her experience with us and her passion for nursing with the following lines.

“This is my great grandmother, the photo was taken in 1910, almost 110 years ago, just after she had started her nurse training and the year Florence Nightingale died. My Gran went on to nurse throughout the First World War and recounted a story of nursing two Australian soldiers recovering from their physical injuries but so traumatised by their experiences. She sat with them during a thunderstorm when they threw themselves to the ground and crawled under a bench buried their heads in the ground and lay shaking from head to toe until they realised where they were, what we now recognise as post-traumatic stress.

This was posted on 11th November 2019 by a cousin of mine and made me feel such pride to be following in my great gran’s footsteps in nursing. I also reflected on being a nurse and a leader in nursing, of recognising when others need you to walk in front and take up leadership, when to walk alongside support and nurture growth and when to follow, allowing others to take the lead. The First World War is a central subject in many histories of medicine because it stimulated medical research and led to the development of new surgical procedures, and nurses were responsible for the continuing care of wounded men and implementing new types of wound treatment when the doctors’ initial work was done. I am proud that my great gran was a part of this history.

I am not sure that nursing offered the same opportunities I have experienced as a nurse for my great gran and she would have been proud of my achievements I am sure. Nursing has evolved so very much and we now take up our positions as clinicians specialists and leaders in our own rights. The Florence Nightingale Foundation has supported me to take up my role and to find my voice, which was my goal at the start of my Leadership Scholarship. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone attending RADA developing greater presence and receiving feedback from peers; Harvard Leadership in the 21st Century, challenging my assumptions understanding how to manage them and why I lead the way I do. The Kings Fund Top Managers Programme an experience I will never forget, learning about self and systems and being curious about everything. It has felt the luxury to have time to step out of my everyday life and step off the dance floor and onto a balcony and observe, my surroundings myself and the systems I operate in. This past 18 months has been all about curiosity and authenticity and has been a truly liberating experience. I write this from the Middle East where I have been working for the past 6 weeks. I took up a challenge, an adventure both personally and professionally which The Florence Nightingale Foundation enabled me to have the confidence to embrace. Florence had the courage she did not allow opposition from others to her work. Courage and perseverance are just as important now and The Florence Nightingale Foundation supports us to improve patient care and be courageous.

Nursing has never been just a job to me but has always been a part of who I am and I am very grateful to The Foundation for being there, for the scholarship and their ongoing support.”


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