A creative career – Jayne is our NHS Hero

Back in 1958, after leaving school at 16, Jayne Burns (61) decided her career was going to be a creative one. After landing her first job decorating handbags, Jayne knew she was never going to fill a boring role.

“I’ve spent my whole life working and most of that has been associated with caring and interacting with people,” said Jayne.

“Whether that was childminding which I did for some years (at one time I was looking after 10 children may I add!) whilst working with vulnerable families in Walsall.”

Over the years, Jayne has worked with people of all ages and conditions, whether that has been younger people with disabilities or older people with mental health conditions, Jayne has done it all and she wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Jayne said: “For part of my career I spent some years at an older people’s home called Bentley Resource Centre which no longer exists, but that’s when I realised that there was an opportunity to introduce activities and groups as the residents never had anything to do.”

Jayne knew that working with older people was her passion so when she saw a job advertised for an activity coordinator at Bloxwich Hospital, she jumped at the chance.

“I don’t know why but when I applied, I just didn’t think I had a chance so when I found out I was successful, I was over the moon,” said Jayne.

In her current role as an activity coordinator at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Jayne is responsible for making sure the patients are never bored. She creates weekly activity schedules, which include activities such as reminiscence groups, singing, quizzes and even bingo.

“I’ve been doing this job for 15 years now and it is still so rewarding, I just love to hear people’s stories about their lives, we even get in touch with patients’ families to create This is Your Life books which is just fascinating,” smiled Jayne.

Jayne always thinks of new ideas for her patients such as last year during Dementia Awareness Week, she bought the largest canvas possible and made a huge collage with her patients which consisted of drawing sheet music, incorporating old photographs and paintings which now take pride of place at Bloxwich Hospital.

“My next challenge is to organise a massive street party celebration in May for staff and patients so I’m trying to fundraise to give them the best party possible – which will include live music,” said Jayne.

Outside of work, she enjoys reading books and finding out about history as well as touring in her caravan.

So who is Jayne’s hero?

She said: “Winston Churchill.”

“Winston was a very inspirational man of his time who just always carried on, despite having severe depression, he didn’t let that stop him from being a leader.”

Jayne’s mental health message?

“Your mental health should ALWAYS be your priority.”