Dedicated nurse returns “home” to Brownesholme
For Jonathan Clarke, working at Carinity’s newest aged care community isn’t just about caring for seniors. It’s also about continuing his own legacy of supporting older people in Highfields.
After his family emigrated to Toowoomba from England in 1968, the then 11-year-old met his “adoptive Australian grandmother”, who lived on the site of his current workplace.
Jonathan first visited Molly Browne, an older lady who later became a good friend, at her large rural property in Highfields as part of his church’s community service.
Molly would later bequeath her land, a former dairy farm, to the Queensland Baptists for the purpose of providing aged care for local seniors. Jonathan now works at that aged care community, The Residences at Brownesholme, operated by Carinity.
“Molly Browne was a very special lady to me. Having no extended family in Australia we regarded her as our ‘adoptive grandmother’. Molly would always have a treat for us for either morning or afternoon tea and relate stories from her younger days as a schoolteacher in southern and western Queensland,” Jonathan said.
“Molly also told us of her adventures driving her beloved black Jaguar with the red leather upholstery and wooden trim. Though in later years she only drove into Toowoomba once a fortnight to pick up her groceries, making sure she always had a supply of ‘grog’, her terminology for soft drink for visitors who did not drink tea.
“Over a period of time, we got to know Molly very well. I spent many hours over many years mowing her extensive lawns and keeping her well supplied with firewood. I did this up until 1980 when I left Toowoomba to undertake my general nurse training in Brisbane.”
A 30-year career as a hospital nurse saw Jonathan work in Alice Springs, Rockhampton and Brisbane, including in mental health units. He transitioned to nursing the elderly in 2007, and for a decade managed numerous Carinity aged care communities across Queensland.
“Despite the variety of positions and units I had worked in surgical, medical, intensive care, emergency, theatre, paediatrics and psychiatry, I have always had a particular interest in geriatric nursing,” Jonathan explained.
Now in his 47th year in nursing, Jonathan recently returned to Carinity after seven years, jumping at the chance to work at its newest aged care site in Highfields. He had always longed to care for seniors in his old neighbourhood.
“Brownesholme has always had a special interest for me, and I always hoped that if the opportunity eventuated, I would like to work there. Brownesholme, both the retirement village and the residential facility, is a wonderful testament of the vision that Molly Browne had for aged care,” he said.
Jonathan’s latest role as a Registered Nurse at The Residences at Brownesholme sees him support residents aged between 72 and 99 years.
“I have really enjoyed returning to a workplace where I have close interaction with the residents who have chosen Brownesholme for the provision of care in their later years, where I believe I am able to provide a positive role model.”