Aster Guardians


Julia Dorothy Downing

International Children's Palliative Care Network (ICPCN)
United Kingdom

Julia Dorothy Downing started her career in nursing considering herself to be a leader, setting out to empower and equip others. Her first steps of leadership started with bringing about clinical change in radiotherapy and outpatients and continued to grow more with her palliative care experience in Uganda. There, in 2001, she led the development of an HIV/AIDS palliative care centre. Her work led to much recognition, such as becoming the only nurse to be appointed an Honorary Professor of Palliative Care – Uganda’s and the region’s first such honour.

Her next nursing stint was at the International Children’s Palliative Care Network where she continues working with organizations across the globe. She has evaluated education programmes, looked at models of care delivery, and learned about the individual’s understanding of illness over her nursing career. Now, she is helping develop an African Palliative Outcome Scale as well as a children’s outcome scale. These studies have led to further research around the world bringing about a better approach and awareness around the issue.

She has been a proponent of nurses taking up research, and the use of good quality data to bring about change. Her journey in nursing has seen many roadblocks, especially about the restricted roles of nurses in the medical ecosystem, which she has overcome and inspired many to take after her success.

Learn about a day in the life of Nurse Julia here.