60 seconds with regional Admiral Nurse Zena Aldridge
Follow your heart, not the crowd, and if you are passionate about something pursue it, says regional Admiral Nurse Zena Aldridge.
Follow your heart, not the crowd, and if you are passionate about something pursue it, says regional Admiral Nurse Zena Aldridge
Zena Aldridge qualified as a mental health nurse in 2003 at the University of East Anglia. After working as a community mental health nurse for working-age adults and as a sister on a medicine for the elderly ward, she took up roles in out-of-hours dementia care and in acute admissions and continuing care for people with dementia. In 2013, she was appointed as the first Admiral Lead Nurse for Norfolk, and is now Admiral Nurse for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, working for Dementia UK.
What are your main work responsibilities?
Improving dementia practice and service development, alongside clinical work with families affected by dementia.
Who are your clients/patients?
Commissioners, health and social care professionals, the voluntary sector and families affected by dementia.
What do you love about your job?
Influencing positive change in practice and service delivery at a strategic level, while continuing with direct clinical work. I meet some amazing families whose resilience never ceases to amaze me.
What do you find most difficult?
For every family we support, there are hundreds more facing the same difficulties who struggle to cope without specialist support.
What is your top priority at work?
Ensuring that families affected by dementia receive specialist support, and improving knowledge and understanding of dementia.
How have you developed your skills in this role?
Through ongoing education and professional development, and learning from the skills and expertise of some amazing role models.
What has been your most formative career experience?
Completing my Master’s degree in 2013. This gave me the skills to develop my reasoning, thinking and problem-solving, and the confidence to further question practice.
What is the best lesson nursing has taught you?
Valuing others. Never underestimate someone’s capabilities, and focus on their strengths not their weaknesses, both colleagues and patients.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
Follow your heart, not the crowd. If you are passionate about something, pursue it and take a risk.