The Chief Nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital received a damehood last week at a special ceremony in Buckingham Palace.
Eileen Sills became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on Thursday, when she received the award from Prince William at an event in the palace’s ballroom.
The veteran nurse and the Duke of Cambridge spoke together about her varied career in the industry and about the important work going on at the trust.
A qualified nurse since 1983, Dame Sills has worked at North Middlesex Hospital, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Whipps Cross Hospital and, finally, Guy’s and St Thomas’, where she has been Chief Nurse since 2005.
During her time at the hospital, the 52-year-old has introduced ‘Clinical Fridays’, which increases the amount of time nurses spend dealing with patients on a one-to-one basis, and helped develop a film about dementia called Barbara’s Story, which has been viewed over 20,000 times on YouTube.
The film was even viewed by the Prime Minister, who Dame Sills helped train, along with other members of the government cabinet, to be a ‘dementia friend’ – a volunteer who commits to improving the lives of dementia patients.
Dame Sills, whose husband is a GP and eldest daughter a nurse, said: “It feels like the most incredible honour to go to Buckingham Palace to receive this award. I enjoyed discussing my nursing career with Prince William and telling him about all the fantastic work going on at Guy’s and St Thomas’. I really would like to thank all my colleagues because this recognition would not have happened without their support.”
She had been awarded the DBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list in recognition of her services to the nursing profession. She has previously received a CBE in the 2003 Queen’s New Year Honours list.