Jean Browne was born in Parkhill, Ontario, on May 11, 1883, and graduated from the Toronto General Hospital. As the first public health nurse in Saskatchewan she organized the first school health program, developed the School Hygiene Branch for the Department of Education, and served for five years as its director. She chaired the committee that successfully drafted the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Act in 1917, and serve as the first President of the Saskatchewan Nurses' Association from 1917 to 1919, an office she filled again in 1921-22. She served as the first Saskatchewan representative to the Canadian Nurses' Association, and was its president from 1922 to 1926. In 1929-30 she was secretary for the Survey of Nursing Education in Canada.
She developed and organized the Canadian Junior Red Cross, served as National Director, and represented the organization internationally. She was the recipient of the Florence Nightingale Medal in 1939 for outstanding nursing service. She received the George VI Coronation Medal in 1938, the George V Jubilee Medal in 1939, and the Canadian Nurses' Association's Snively Medal for her outstanding contributions to the ideals of nursing and service. Browne retired in 1950 and married Dr. W.A. Thomson. She died in Regina on October 7, 1973.