Meet Iulia Balanici, our clinical manager
Iulia is one half of the management team here at Parkfield, working alongside home manager Shawndell Barker. She joined the home in January 2019 as a nurse and was promoted to the clinical manager role after just 18 months.
Before coming to Parkfield, Iulia worked as a nurse in several nursing homes – in Swanage (Dorset), Wembley and Walton-on-Thames where she was deputy manager. This home had been assessed by the CQC as ‘requires improvement’ before Iulia arrived, but she played a key role in helping to improve its service and build up its reputation.
Having grown up in north-east Romania among a family of doctors and nurses, it was perhaps inevitable that Iulia herself would go on to become a nurse! During her second year of nursing studies she joined the Leonardo da Vinci Programme, spending four weeks on an exchange programme in Denmark. This gave her a taste of working abroad in a different environment and an opportunity to see another side of nursing, especially the care of elderly people.
“There aren’t many nursing homes in Romania because there is more of a culture of looking after the elderly at home. I was very interested by the totally different approach that I saw in Denmark,” she explains.
Iulia finished her nursing qualification and, unsure about her next steps, spent some time as a volunteer nurse at The Pneumophthisiology Hospital (lung diseases hospital). When some colleagues travelled to the UK with the Leonardo da Vinci project, Iulia decided to take the plunge and register with the Nursing & Midwifery Council to practise in the UK. During the long application process she moved to Dorset as a live-in carer, looking after three elderly ladies, including one with dementia.
“This was a great opportunity to learn more about England and its culture, and practise the language that I had spent years learning at school,” she says. “I also became interested in dementia and realized that I could make a difference. It’s surprising, but in Romania we don’t see many people with dementia.”
Iulia is passionate about offering the best possible quality of care for elderly people and is excited about how Parkfield is supporting its residents with dementia. The home’s hens, in particular, provide stimulation as well as companionship, and residents can express themselves through activities such as arts and crafts. She also feels very much at home here.
“Parkfield is such a warm and pleasant environment. It’s easy to give 100% here because staff get so much support. I feel like we are one big, close-knit team and, with the residents and their relatives, we’re also a huge extended family,” she says.
Alongside the clinical manager role, Iulia is studying for her Level 5 qualification in Health and Social Care. In her spare time she loves travelling with husband Andrei, reading, meditating and going for long walks. She has also enjoyed visiting Stonehenge, somewhere she longed to see a child growing up some 1,600 miles away!