A West Wales nurse – who has helped care for our area’s most unwell children – is looking forward to visiting to Buckingham Palace in June after being overwhelmed to be included in this year’s New Year’s Honours list.
Rowena Jones has been awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her service to sick and disabled children, and particularly for her contribution to the setting up of a service to allow children at the end of their life to be cared for at home.
Rowena works as a paediatric oncology outreach specialist nurse for Hywel Dda University Health Board, caring for hundreds of children and supporting their families from all corners of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.
She has been a nurse for more than 40 years, having worked in the community and on wards in Bronglais, and Glangwili Hospitals, as well as having worked closely with the Children’s Cancer Unit in Cardiff.
Most recently, and with a close colleague paediatric palliative care nurse Jayne Thomas, she set up the Palliative Nurse Bank for children’s services, which has allowed more nurses to be trained in caring for children at the end of their life. This means nurses can care for children over a 24 hour day, meaning they can return home to their own environments and in the bosom of their families.
Rowena, from Aberaeron, said: “It was a real surprise to be contacted by the Palace and I have been totally overwhelmed with the response from friends, family, colleagues and the families of children I have worked with.
“I love being a nurse and working with families but it is all a team approach. If having this helps the service, then I’m delighted.”
The health board had an overwhelming response from the public when it announced Rowena’s recognition. The response reached 33,773 people, with almost 2,500 engagements including lots of comments from appreciative families in the area.
Rowena, who has close affiliations also with children’s cancer charities LATCH and Clic Sargent, is now looking forward to a trip to the Palace and meeting the Queen later in the year.
Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience Mandy Rayani said: “Rowena is an exemplary member of our nursing staff who has a wealth of skills, knowledge, and experience in her specialist field. She also has the ability to really connect with children and their families providing excellent patient experience as well as excellent nursing care.”