Meet Dawn Orr, Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care

Posted on Mon, 18/05/2020 by Dawn Orr, Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care

Meet Dawn Orr, Macmillan Palliative Care Nurse Consultant at our St Bedes Unit at QE Gateshead. She explains her job role within Palliative Care and the difference she’s made to patients and their families as we celebrate the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My role as a Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care did not happen overnight and I have gained extensive clinical experience and academic study to Masters Level in order to progress to this role.  In fact, I have studied most of my life and have 36 years of nursing experience within the NHS.  I began my career as an Enrolled Nurse, then c converted to become a Registered Nurse. I then worked as a staff nurse and was promoted to a sister role.  Following this experience, I specialised in Pain Control and became a Clinical Nurse Specialist.  Within this role, I qualified as a Registered Sick Children’s Nurse and this enabled me to work with both adults and children.  Twelve years ago I achieved my dream job as a Macmillan Palliative Care Nurse Specialist within the community.  Since then I have had the privilege of working within the hospital and community.  I have also been interested in nurse education and worked as an End of Life Care Educator whilst studying for my Master’s degree. 

Two days are never the same; however, within my role, I demonstrate competency and experience within the four pillars of clinical practice, the facilitation of learning, leadership, research, and strategic development.  The provision of palliative and end of life care through a multidisciplinary integrated approach is paramount and I am one cog in a brilliant team.

My role is pivotal in providing expert advice to staff and those patients and families requiring palliative care. 

My clinical responsibilities include in-patient and out-patient consultations for complex symptom management.  I facilitate continuity by improving existing communication strategies and forging links within the hospital, community, external services, and universities. 

One way I’ve made a difference as a nurse or midwife

I have been fortunate to have been involved in many fantastic opportunities to develop and transform services to improve the patient's and families journeys. 

I am proud to have established the first acute pain service within South Tyneside for which I won an innovation award.  I am delighted to have been pivotal in developing an education strategy along with my colleagues to underpin our palliative and end of life care services here at Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust.   One of my greatest achievements as a nurse has been to establish an end of life care service with the North East Ambulance Service and Macmillan.  This service has improved the way in which patients are cared for in emergency situations when they are approaching the end of life.  This service has enabled patients to have a choice regarding their preferred place of care and death.  A huge part of this role was to educate emergency staff to be able to acknowledge that palliative and end of life care patients have differing needs to other emergency situations.   

What would you say to someone considering a career in nursing & midwifery?

Nursing is my passion! I come from a family of nurses.  My grandmother was a community district nurse when I was little and although it would not be allowed now I often accompanied her on her visits in school holidays.  She was my role model and I aspired to be as good at nursing as she was.  I hope I have done her proud.

As a Nurse Consultant, I practice compassionate leadership and see myself as a change agent.  I am passionate to ensure that all patients and families receive the care and support they need in addition to all staff being prepared to care through education.

Throughout my career, I have faced many challenges and have often felt that I have had to strive for what I believe in.  I have had many role models who have supported me on this journey.  I can honestly say that throughout my career I have always felt supported and cared for by colleagues and I am proud to do the same for others.  

If you have a caring attitude and a passion for improving services for patients and families come and join us.

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change this and find out more by following this link.
Accept Cookies