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Jenny Sando farewelled

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Jenny Sando

One of the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service’s longest-serving senior staff has been farewelled after 30 years of service.

Jenny Sando lived on Thursday Island as a child, and after spending her early nursing and midwifery career at larger hospitals in Sydney, she found herself in Cairns, where her husband took up an opportunity in the dive industry.

She started in the Special Care Nursery and the Nursing and Midwifery School at the Cairns Hospital, having brought many additional qualifications in neonatal intensive care and education with her.

“Because of my neonatal background, I developed the new midwifery curriculum and particularly designed the perinatal paediatrics component,” Dr Sando said.

She saw out the last group of general nursing students in 1996 and the last group of midwifery students in 1999.

Dr Sando then moved into general surgery and orthopaedics education, developing strong relationships with clinicians, before taking on the management of several rural education programs.

Recognising her skills, Dr Sando was then invited to manage several non-clinical projects, including the implementation of the first public internet access points in nine Gulf communities.

Dr Sando has held her current position of Nursing Director, Education and Research since 2004.

“I always saw this as my destiny position and it’s been a journey,” she said.

She said there had been a huge evolution in the organisation during the past three decades, with a team of eight educators growing to 27.

A tireless advocate for the health professions and education, Dr Sando also held leadership roles on the Clinical Senate, the Clinical Council and the Ethics Committee.

“I’ve always been vocal, and I have previously been referred to as a person who carried a virtual bag of soap boxes,” she said.

Dr Sando was the first Cairns nurse to earn a PhD in nursing through James Cook University. The University presented her with an Outstanding Alumnus Award in the Faculty of Health in 2015 in recognition of the strong partnership and clinical pathways she’d built for nursing students.

Dr Sando has also facilitated an important partnership with CQ University which has seen eight graduate nurses employed by the Health Service undertake a Masters in Nursing this year.

She said she has always been impressed by the passion and commitment the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health staff have shown for the care of their patients.

Dr Sando has left an impression on many staff over the years, including Penny Fox, who said she was inspired to extend her nursing studies after attending a training session while Dr Sando was the Workplace Equity and Harassment Officer for North Queensland.

“I have many fond memories of when I first met you at the Cairns Hospital,” she told Dr Sando, “I can clearly recall thinking what an amazing nurse and human being that you were and still are.”

Dr Sando will also be fondly remembered by her team, who performed a ‘flash mob’ at a special farewell function at the Cairns Hospital.

Susan Hull, Nurse Educator, Clinical Placements said Dr Sando was a robust and resilient leader who was able to transfer her passion for the profession to students.

Alison Trivella, Nurse Educator, Perioperative Services said she always went “above and beyond.”

“My lasting impression of Jenny will be the person you could take a problem to, be it personal or professional and even outside working hours, and she would help you solve it,” she said,”Jenny’s big on helping the individual grow to solve their own problems.”

Dr Sando is relocating to the Sunshine Coast and said she wants to indulge her passion for the English language, volunteering to read books to children in the local library. She also wants to exercise her green thumb, perhaps doing some nursery work.

Rest assured, Dr Sando will continue sharing her knowledge and contributing to the betterment of the health sector.

Last updated: 19 December 2019