Patience has served as a permanent secretary in her native state of Bayelsa. Patience Jonathan has been recognised locally, nationally and internationally for her philanthropic work and political pragmatism. She received the “Beyond The Tears” International Humanitarian Award New York, USA, in 2008, for her role in the global fight against HIV/AIDS; the African Goodwill Ambassador Award (Los Angeles, USA, 2008) and the recipient of the “Wind of Change” Award from the South/ South Womens Organisation.
When Goodluck Jonathan served as governor of Bayelsa state between 2005 and 2007, Patience served the state in the capacity of the first lady. During this period, she founded many philanthropic and women empowerment programs, among them are the A-Aruere Reachout Foundation (AARF), which she set up to improve the status and earning capacity of Nigerian women and youths.