Chief nurse from Stoke Newington made a Dame in Queen’s New Year Honours

Eileen Sills

Eileen Sills - Credit: Archant

An “inspirational” chief nurse whose long list of accomplishments includes training the Prime Minister in dementia awareness has been awarded a top honour from the Queen.

Eileen Sills, 52, was made a dame in the New Year Honours list published yesterday, in recognition of her nationally-renowned services to the nursing profession since she qualified in 1983.

The Stoke Newington resident, who has been chief nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in Westminster since 2005 and director of patient experience since 2012, has a reputation for strong leadership and has overseen numerous projects to help patients and medical professionals over her career – including an award-winning training film on dementia.

The mother-of-two, who is married to a GP, said: “This is the most amazing honour, I can’t quite believe it. I have had an amazing 10 years at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and I would like to thank all the staff who work here because this recognition would not have happened without them.”

Ron Kerr, Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “We are all immensely proud of Eileen’s recognition in the Queen’s New Year Honours. It is a well-deserved honour for her transformational leadership of not only the nursing workforce but all staff across the organisation, whatever job they do and wherever they work.

Among Mrs Sills’ achievements are the introduction of Clinical Fridays – increasing the amount of time that senior nurses spend on the frontline – and the weekly Safe in Our Hands forum where nurses and other staff share successes and challenges to improve patient care.

She was the driving force behind the development of an award-winning training film called Barbara’s Story to raise staff awareness of dementia – all 13,500 Guy’s and St Thomas’ staff have seen the film and it has been viewed 20,000 times on YouTube.

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Earlier this month Mrs Sills, whose eldest daughter is a nurse and youngest a professional tennis player, trained Prime Minister David Cameron and members of the Cabinet to be ‘dementia friends’ which included a screening of Barbara’s Story. She has also been the Clinical Director of London’s Strategic Network for Dementia since August 2013.

Her leadership of a staff ‘listening exercise’ at Guy’s and St Thomas’ following publication of the Francis Report into failings at Mid Staffordshire Hospital was also recognised as an example of best practice in staff engagement in the Government’s official response to the report.

Having trained in Stockport, Mrs Sills moved to London in 1985 where she took up her first senior position as a sister in A&E at North Middlesex Hospital – she quickly rose up through the ranks to fill director of nursing roles at both the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and Whipps Cross Hospital.

She was awarded the CBE in 2003 and she holds two visiting professorships at King’s College London and London South Bank University.

Mr Kerr added: “Eileen is passionately committed to improving the experience of every patient treated in our hospitals and in our community services. The example that she sets as a highly visible nurse leader is an inspiration to all of us, myself included.”