Driven in part by the expectation on girls of that era to take up nursing, Jenny was also motivated by her mother’s own career as a nurse – and her sudden death when Jenny was just 13-years-of-age. “I started nursing at 17 and I’ve been a nurse for 35 years,” she said. “When I started nursing, at that age when everybody left school you were either a nurse, a policeman or in the fire brigade, that was what you did. “My mother died when I was 13, she was 37, so I had a great desire to nurse, her nursing career was quite wonderful so that’s how I felt it would be for me, which it was. My career’s been very exciting and varied and really interesting, I’ve had a great nursing career.” Jenny learned at a young age what it meant to have to look after others.
She also understood how important it was to “pay it forward” and treat others with care and respect – values that were instilled in her by her coal mining father. “My father set up a lot of beliefs and strategies to make me manage from a very young age,” Jenny said. “So I was taught how to go to the butcher and get the right bit of meat from the front of the window, not what he picked up the back; I was taught how to cook at a very early age, I was taught how to give away my last five cents or 10 cents or a dollar to anybody that needed it, and I was always taught to pay it forward, to be kind to everybody and really that’s my whole mission in cancer care, is just to help someone, just one person.