A Remarkable Journey 45 Years of Dedication and Growth

27 February 2024

At the Spirit of Wesley staff awards, Jenny Lanham celebrated an incredible milestone - 35 years of dedicated service at the Wesley Hospital.

However, her connection with the hospital dates back even further, spanning an impressive 45 years.

In this My Wesley Story, we delve into Jenny's remarkable career, from her early days as a nursing trainee to her current role at the heart of the hospital's bustling East wing, DOSA and Preadmission Clinic.

Jenny's journey at Wesley began in January 1979 when, fresh out of high school in Cairns, she moved to Brisbane to undertake Registered Nurse training at the St Helens School of Nursing within the Wesley Hospital.

Initially taking on a cleaning position to fill the gap before her formal training commenced and living in the onsite hostel, Jenny found herself walking into work alongside Matron Banff, known for her vibrant wardrobe choices and nicknamed "Big Bird" when wearing the "Canary Yellow".

In June 1979, Jenny officially began her three-year hospital training in the School of Nursing on Level 2, where the Day Treatment Unit is now located.

This rigorous training included preliminary sessions before nursing students ventured onto the wards for practical experience. After completing her training in June 1982, Jenny transitioned to employment as a Registered Nurse on 5B which was the General Surgical ward.

When pregnant with first baby in 1987 and navigating a time when paid maternity leave was not yet a reality, Jenny resigned, opting for casual pool work upon her return eight months later in January 1988.

Over the years, Jenny balanced her career with family life, welcoming two more children and then in 1996 took on a permanent part-time position back on Ward 5B, representing her fourth "change of status."

In 1999, Jenny and her husband became foster carers, embarking on a new season of life alongside her Wesley career. The supportive environment at Wesley allowed her to navigate the challenges of combining work and home life.

Notably, in 2006, Jenny successfully secured maternity leave for the arrival of her third (new-born) foster child, highlighting the positive changes in workplace policies over the years.

As the nursing Level system was introduced, Jenny continued her professional growth, reaching Level 1 RN Grade 8 by 2006. Her dedication and experience led her to apply for and secure the Level 2 Clinical Nurse position on 5B in a strategic move that marked her sixth "change of status."

In this role, Jenny took on ward rostering responsibilities, contributing to the overall efficiency and balance of the nursing team, particularly in encouraging and supporting both ward managers and staff team.

Throughout her tenure, Jenny witnessed significant changes in the hospital's physical landscape, from the construction of Moorlands and East wings to expansions into medical centres. Ward 5B evolved into 5E, with Jenny adapting to changes and ongoing work in 5EC.

Reflecting on her 44-year journey, Jenny acknowledges the profound changes within herself. Starting as a 17-year-old high school graduate, she has grown not only professionally and physically but also spiritually and emotionally, grateful for the many incredible people she has encountered at Wesley who have mentored, encouraged and supported this journey. Jenny expresses thanks for the ongoing presence of God in her life, influencing every interaction, both at work and at home.

Jenny Lanham's My Wesley Story is a testament to dedication, resilience, and growth. Her 44-year journey at the Wesley Hospital paints a vivid picture of the evolution of a nurse, a wife and mother, and a spiritual individual.

Through changing roles, challenges, and personal milestones, Jenny's commitment to her profession and her enduring connection with Wesley Hospital shines brightly.

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