Darlene grew up in Durham, North Carolina and recieved her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1982. She began her nursing career at Duke University, where she worked in cadio-thoracic surgery for 5 years. Darlene then spent 2 years doing traveling nursing in various places around the U.S., finally settling in Denver in 1988. She worked at Porter Hospital ICU for 3 years, then joined the transplant team there as a Transplant Coordinator in 1991. Darlene completed a Master Degree in Science as an Adult Nurse Practitioner in 2005. She continued to work in transplant as a nurse practitioner until joining Dr. Kortz in January 2009.