‘Never give up on your dream’


As we celebrate International Nurses Day, a Health Portfolio lecturer from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David is encouraging students to think that it’s never too late to follow their dream.

Donna Morgan

Nursing is a passion of lecturer Donna Morgan, and her personal dedication to the industry is something that’s reflected in her work, as she often shares her own story and experiences whilst preparing the next generation of health care workers at UWTSD.

Donna’s journey began with no qualifications after leaving school, but after a few years, she decided to return to the classroom so that she could train to be a nurse. Donna trained to be a registered nurse of learning disabilities (RNLD) in Glasgow and decided to go down that path as her sister had learning disabilities. After qualifying, the nursing world has provided Donna with several opportunities from working as a Forensic nurse and treating patients from a criminal background, to working with patients in Guernsey with challenging behaviour. During her time in Guernsey, Donna worked and lived with other nurses from various countries around the world, and found that nursing was an universal qualification that could take you anywhere.

While Donna was nursing in Guernsey she met her husband and both decided to move back to Wales after discovering they were expecting a baby. The move to Wales proved to be financially challenging to Donna that meant she couldn’t afford to renew her nurses registration at the time. According to Donna: “It’s the biggest regret of my life. I gave up a nursing career because I couldn’t afford to renew my PIN, which is heart-breaking really.”

After losing her registration, Donna began searching for jobs and went back down the learning disabilities route. She was successful in getting a job with Gorseinon College supporting adults with learning disabilities and loved every minute. Whilst working in Gorseinon, Donna was encouraged to apply for a PGCE course so that she could teach on the ACCESS course and apply her nursing skills to the work. As Donna taught voluntarily, she wanted to progress her career and wanted to teach nursing to students before she’d forget but knew that she’d have to gain a MA degree to do this.

An opportunity came through UWTSD from Tania Davies to Donna, and she was offered a teaching post as well as an opportunity to study for her Masters.

“The University embraced the fact that I was an ex-nurse, and wanted to promote that. They encouraged me to get my nursing registration back.”

Donna is grateful for this opportunity as she felt strongly: “if you’re teaching nursing, I really think you should be practising nursing.” When applying for her return to practice, Donna specifically requested to go to the Acute Assessment and Treatment unit with Swansea Bay Health board, and she continues to work there part-time on the nurse bank, looking after adults with learning disabilities who are experiencing acute ill mental health.

Donna said: “Teaching is flexible, and we’re so lucky that we have holidays, and I can fit in nursing there, and both roles are very flexible.”

Both teaching and nursing go hand in hand according to Donna, as the same skills are being used whilst communicating and looking after patients or students. Also, Donna’s learnt so much from the practical side of nursing that she can bring in to teaching – experiences that students can benefit from.

Donna’s story is inspiring, and she shares her experience with students to encourage them to develop. She thinks of herself as an ambassador for nursing education and also to the Learning disabilities nursing world by telling her students about the endless opportunities that this career provides. She feels in debt to the University for their continued support.

“Education can change our story, it certainly changed mine. It can impact your life, and I think it’s fantastic we can offer this opportunity to everybody no matter what their educational background is.”

Tania Davies, Health Portfolio Manager is very proud of Donna’s progression: “Donna has been such an inspirational and important part of the team as she not only imparts clinical skills and a depth of nursing knowledge but has helped install innovation and success in our academic skills modules. She has been a tireless worker in and outside of the university arena and is one of the most supportive and student-centred academics I know. She is an excellent ambassador for the health and education professions.”

As Donna reflects on her past experiences, she’s now looking forward to the future educating the next generation of health care workers, and also looking personally at the possibility of studying for a PhD degree.

Further Information

Lowri Thomas, Principal Communications and PR Officer

07449 998476