Before moving into Higher Education Donna worked in practitioner, leadership and management roles within the NHS for over 25 years. These roles included Health Visiting and Specialist Health Visiting (for children with disabilities/complex and additional needs), and as a Sure Start Community Health Co-ordinator.
In her previous clinical post, she worked for 8 years as a therapist in CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services) providing early intervention for children (from birth to 5) and their families as an Early Years Mental Health Specialist within a Sure Start Children’s Centre. This was part of an integrated team across health and social care, delivering support for the social and emotional development of children in line with the ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda. During this time, she was involved in the development of ‘Getting to know your Baby’ an antenatal programme, city wide in Sunderland, which was highly commended in the Nursing Times Awards, 2010 and LGC 2012.
Donna also piloted and evaluated a therapeutic group approach, ‘Fun Friends’, for young children (aged 4-7 years) with anxiety (using a cognitive behavioural therapy framework). This won the ‘Patient Safety & Care Awards’ in 2014 and is now part of a rolling programme within Sunderland. Donna continues to have an interest in infant mental health and the 1001 Critical Days Agenda.
Current research interests include infant mental health, human-animal interactions, Pets-As-Therapy, history of the school dog, children's literature, visual methods, comics, ethnography and Deleuzian philosophy.
Donna’s doctoral thesis seeks to explore, using visual methods, children’s experiences of interacting with a canine in the classroom/school setting:
“Growing up with School Dog ‘Ted’ – An Ethnographic Study” and the influence this relationship has on their growth, social and emotional development and wellbeing.
MSc, Health and Community Studies, Northumbria University
Master of Public Health
Diploma, Other Courses, Northumbria University
Psychoanalytical Observation Studies (Infancy & Early Childhood)
Certificate, Other Courses, Northumbria University
Systemic Practice (Family Therapy)
HND, Counselling, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust
BSc (Hons), Health and Community Studies, Northumbria University
Specialist Practitioner/Health Visitor
Master of Public Health, MPH7 Sep 2006 -
Psychotherapist/Counsellor, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)6 Jul 2004 -
Health Visitor, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)7 Sep 1998 -
School Nurse,1993 -
Registered General Nurse, RGN4 Jun 1990 -