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Student voices: Darlene
Darlene Romero

I have been a registered nurse for 23 years now and have spent most of my career in medicine and respiratory medicine. Whilst working in acute respiratory speciality in one of the leading hospitals in East London, I helped set up a non-invasive ventilation service in a nurse–led ward.

My first appointment as a matron was in the Stroke and Hyper-Acute Stroke Unit in my current Trust, where I set up a stroke unit. I am proud that this has been recognised as being a well-led unit by patients and professionals across London and the south east. I have also led on many other changes to ensure patients receive the best stroke nursing care possible.

I have been a matron in the Older People's Unit for almost six years now and implemented changes to deliver compassionate care among older people. In 2013-14, I was part of the project team specially selected to receive funding from the Department of Health for the pilot project "Designing the Dementia Journey- a holistic approach to the environment for people with dementia". Frail older adult patients suffering with dementia can present at any point in their care pathway, from the emergency department to Older Persons Inpatient Unit. This project was designed with this in mind.

Why did you apply for the Fellowship?

I am passionate about improving care for older people. I believe that strong, competent and compassionate leadership is key to keep on improving care for older people and for this care to have a place among recognised specialities. The Older Person's Fellowship will help me further my skills in delivering safe, competent and transformational care, whilst giving me a platform to share and validate best practice which can be put into practice in my unit.

How will this programme help you and your organisation?

This programme will give me opportunity to work with and learn alongside other colleagues who are expert practitioners and innovators in healthcare. The Fellowship could also open doors for collaboration and sharing best practice with other organisations.

What are your future plans/aspirations? 

My aspiration is to enhance my academic competence to further create a platform to deliver and influence standards of care for older people especially those with cognitive impairment and dementia. I am looking forward to developing and nurturing a skilled compassionate nursing workforce able to consistently deliver the best care possible to patients throughout their stay in my unit.

July 2017