People of KHSC: Jayne Leonard
Portraits of caring, compassion & commitment
The 2021 National Nursing Week theme of “we answer the call” fits Jayne Leonard like a glove.
Over 17 years of bedside nursing at Kingston Health Sciences Centre, followed by 15 years (and running) as an Occupational Health Nurse (OHN), she has been there for the seriously ill—including neurology/neurosurgery, critical care, surgical and Emergency Department patients—and for those who care for them, from nurses to medical residents to support staff. And she has logged time providing operational support to hospital managers and staff.
Her current OHN role brings a slew of calls to answer every day. Skipping from vaccinations to workplace injuries to wellness teaching to onboarding new hires is a typical day’s agenda. Add in dozens of emails and a handful of staff walk-in visits.
“It’s a job where you learn to live with interruptions,” she says. “You don’t always know what’s coming next, especially this last year when handling COVID-19 meant you might have to drop everything to help with masking issues or contact tracing.”
She figures this work is her destiny. She recently found a bunch of old school notebooks where her younger self had scribbled future career scenarios. “I had a few different ones, but ‘nurse’ kept repeating over and over. I think I just had a calling.”
How lucky for KHSC staff who cross Jayne’s path. When they call she answers with more than three decades of rich nursing experience.
“I do miss bedside nursing, especially the times when I would see my patients recovering and heading home well again. But now I’ve got a different kind of patient—the people who come to work in the hospital every day—and my job is help them be well so they can be the ones at the bedside or in the clinics caring for patients. My job is to help them to succeed.”