How did you get into care?
After I graduated from school, I did A-levels including Health and Social Care and then went straight into university to get my nursing degree. I’ve since been in care for about 17 years in total. I’ve been a home care assistant, and worked as a nurse in another home, for 5 years after my degree. I then decided that learning disabilities wasn’t the direction I wanted to take so I left that job. I did some retail and bar work but then finally got back into community care before coming to Roebuck Care Home. I worked here as a health care assistant for 7 years before deciding to go back to university to get my nursing PIN number back. When you’re not actively working as a nurse for a period of time, you have to retrain. I had to go back and do a refresher course. Since July 2018, I have been a nurse here.
What other training and qualifications do you have?
I have a Level 3 in ‘Health and Social Care’, which is my nursing degree, ‘Dementia and Wound’ qualifications, and I completed the ‘Health Champion Pathway’ at HCPA. I’m able to train up other staff members in this area as a result of doing this course as it covered so much.
What are your shift patterns like?
The shifts as a care assistant and nurse are pretty much the same in that they are both 12-hour shifts from 8 until 8. With nursing, you do 12-hour shifts but with care assistants there can be half shifts if you have other responsibilities – 8 until 2, or 2 until 8. I help with the rota, so I input and Lisa, my manager, approves and fills any gaps. We try to give people every other weekend off and try to be as fair as possible. We always look at the previous week’s rota and if you were working on the weekend, we won’t put you on the following weekend.
How has the leadership team supported you?
When I told the management team that I was going back to university, I had to drop my shifts down to part time. Lisa, my manager, was really supportive and said that she would help me in any way throughout my re-training. She was really helpful and was glad I going to do a refresher course to be a nurse. I’ve been here for 7 years and on the first shift I ever did as a nurse, I was petrified but I have been in this role for 6 months now and I am settling in well. Lisa is always available if I have any questions or need any help; Roebuck Care Home and Lisa are absolutely fantastic.
What do you love about working in the care sector?
I just love coming into work and trying to make a difference in other people’s lives. The people are here because they can’t look after themselves anymore. The fact that we are coming in to look after them, or just help them with their day to day lives, is just rewarding. I think it’s easy to take things for granted like getting up in the morning and being able to go to the bathroom and have a shower, or make your own breakfast. It’s these simple things that make you independent and we don’t realise one day that could be taken away from us. Coming into work and helping the residents with those things makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile.
Some of the residents have families, but the families have responsibilities like bringing up their own children, so they can’t have their parent(s) living with them. There is no other option besides social care. The fact that we are there to help look after them and keep them safe makes me feel like I am doing an incredibly valuable job. Personally, it is the most important job there is.
What is the biggest challenge in your role?
When someone passes away it is very hard or when someone is very poorly and you know they are going to pass away quite soon, but there is nothing more you can do for them to prevent that. We have people in this home that have been there for years, then we have people who come here that are here for a few days or few weeks and then they pass away. We get told that they are coming towards the end of their life and you know this when they come in. That’s very challenging and quite sad but you’re there to make them as comfortable as possible in their last days.
What would you say to someone who is hesitant to work in care?
Come in and volunteer. I worked on care assistants pay for 7 years here. I could have gone into nursing 7 years ago and been on a higher wage but I just loved being a care assistant. When you really enjoy your job, you realise there is much more than just the money. If your sole concern when looking for a job is a certain amount of money, then you can get a standard job in retail but it won’t be anywhere near as rewarding as working in care.
Even if you have a slight inkling that you might want to work in care, just go for it. You have more to lose if you don’t give it a go. It’s worth getting into – it can be challenging but it is, without a doubt, incredibly rewarding.