Matron at the heart of our hospital

11 November 2021

Diane Taboada came to the UK from The Philippines in 2000 and started working at Kingston Hospital. Twenty one years later Diane is now Matron for Cardiology, Gastroenterology and Respiratory, looking after Bronte, Hamble, and Hardy wards.

Of the 15 years Diane worked on Bronte Ward, she says: “My first love has always been cardiology. What I most love about my job is developing staff and seeing them progress in their careers.”

“I also like when I interact with patients, not only when they have complaints or when they have issues, as often patients and relatives will see me on the ward and want to give compliments about my staff. That makes me happy.  I make sure that I feed back to staff and thank them after a hard day, because it’s not easy right now in the NHS. It is also important to make sure that staff feel supported and valued because otherwise they will lose the motivation to come to work.”

When asked how her role facilitates the wards to deliver high quality care she explains: “I do set high standards. First thing in the morning I do my rounds and in that quick round, I talk with the nurse in charge as to what their day would be like, not only about the discharges, but if they have any concerns about patients or relatives.  I then review their KPIs. I also have one-to-ones with the Band 7s of the wards. We look into the Friends and Family tests as well to look to how we can improve the patient experience.”

As matron, Diane tells us how role modelling plays an important part in her role:  “During the first surge of the pandemic, it was scary, and it was the first time we had CPAP. So every day I went onto the ward to show staff it was okay to go onto the ward and care for our patients with COVID-19 and they shouldn’t be scared as I’m there with them.”

We asked Diane, if she thinks coming through the last 18 months has made her a stronger person? She pauses. “Yes, I think so, it’s made me think that there’s not much that we cannot achieve if we put our minds to it. There has always been a very can-do attitude here at Kingston. When people pull together and we make sure we all feel supported, then we can get through it.”

When asked why she has stayed at Kingston, Diane says: “My work family is like my second family. So the teams are like a second family to me. I have a good working relationship with the teams.  I also had staff who stayed with me for 15 years. They always say employees do not leave jobs. They leave their bosses. So, I must have been taken care of well by my bosses!”

How does Diane relax? “I run, well, I used to run, but it has been so busy. I haven’t been running for a month now but starting again tomorrow! I enjoy going out with my friends. Filipinos have, as I always joke, four stomachs. As long as we have food, we’ll be fine.”

“I’m still in touch with my nursing cohort of 2000. In October we went on a spa break to celebrate our birthdays for the last 2 years as we were not able to meet as a group due to COVID. There’s five or six of us still working in the trust.”

When asked what inspires her, Diane explains: “Making a positive difference to our staff and patients’ lives is what makes it worthwhile to come to work, despite all the stresses.  Like I said, Kingston is my second family where else would I want to work?”

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