Ms O'Donnell is a qualified nurse and nurse teacher and since October 2006, she has been the Associate Head of Nursing at the University of Ulster having been employed as a Lecuturer in Nursing from November 2001. Ms O'Donnell holds a specialist practice qualification in rheumatology nursing and she was previously employed as a Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner at the former Altnagelvin and Sperrin Lakeland Hospitals HSS Trusts and Staff Nurse (General Medicines) at the Altnagelvin Hospitals HSS Trust. Ms O'Donnell holds an Honorary Contract as a Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner with the Western Health and Social Care Trust. She is a former member of the Western Investing for Health Partnership.

Ms O'Donnell brings an extensive range of knowledge and skills to the post. She is committed to supporting the learning and development of nurses and midwives with the aims of enhancing the experience of each person receiving care and promoting the wellbeing of the population. She has significant experience of strategic management, academic leadership and collaborative working.

Ms O'Donnell has a particular interest in enhancing the quality of care by learning from experience and evidence so that care can be safe, effective, equitable and meaningful.