Case study taken July 2021
How did you start a career in care and what initially attracted you to the sector?
I started working in the adult social care industry straight after university. I went to university with the intention of becoming a teacher and had been working as a Teaching Assistant prior to doing an education degree. However, it soon became apparent whilst on my placements and working with children who had learning disabilities, vulnerable adults, and the elderly that I was more passionate about the care side of it. During my final year at university, I reflected on the experiences I had encountered and decided that care was the route for me, even though it was not my full educational background. Since then, I haven’t looked back because I absolutely love it.
Could you give some details about your current job role and what it involves?
I am currently the acting Registered Manager at Constantia Care alongside my co-worker Morag. I initially started as a Care Co-ordinator, overseeing clients and being their first point of contact. I then progressed to a Senior Care Co-ordinator where I managed a team of 5. Following that position I moved up to the Deputy Manager role where I was overseeing 3 of the 6 departments which has led me to my current role now where I oversee all the departments with Morag.
My main responsibility is to support staff in their roles. I’m very lucky that we have quite a well-established management team at Constantia Care who I really enjoy working with. We are currently implementing a brand-new application process, so I am supporting staff to make that transition which is really exciting. Alongside this, I am continually ensuring that we are compliant with all the CQC regulations.
What training have you completed in your care career so far?
I have completed my Level 5 in Health and Social Care and have done quite a few courses in Adult Safeguarding because I am the Safeguarding Lead at Constantia Care.
I am also in the process of completing the Leadership Succession Planning course with Gill at HCPA. I am just over halfway through and am loving it. The course really focuses on value-based recruitment, supervision and getting the company mission and the ethos right. I really do try to take advantage of all the training courses available at HCPA because they are brilliant.
What training have you found to be fundamental within your care career?
When I was Deputy Manager I completed a Skills for Care Management course, which I found very useful. The course helped me understand different learning styles as well as discovering what type of Manager I was and certain areas I could improve for the future. For example, from this course I learnt that I was quite ‘hand’s on’ in my role and needed to focus on becoming more of a delegator, whilst also building that delegator trust within my team. Doing this Skills for Care Management course was a prominent part of my learning which I have found extremely valuable within my career in care.
What support have you received from your line manager and how do you ensure your team feel supported?
My line manager, Morag, has over 25 years of knowledge in the care industry and has been a fantastic mentor to me. Having previously run a care home, alongside Constantia Care being her family business, she is able to bring a wealth of real, practical knowledge to the table.
I think the reason we work so well together is because Morag brings the experience and I bring the technology side, ensuring we are up to date with ever changing policies. This ensures we never move away from the original base of the standard care that we are working towards. Morag also provides me with the opportunity to put ideas forward such as making certain processes more efficient and streamlined which enables our Care Assistants to do their jobs easier.
One thing I am always striving to do as part of my management role is to allow suggestions. I don’t want to be a ‘top-down’ leader because I want the ideas to come from the staff who are actively doing the roles. One thing Morag said to me that has always stuck is “Never ask your staff to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do yourself.” I think it is important to know that you’re able to be hands on and get stuck in as well.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I think the thing I enjoy the most is that every day is different. I call my role a bit of an ‘Octopus job’ because there are lots of different areas that you can explore, but it is never boring. For example, one day I could be doing some administrative duties, the next I could be out visiting clients to make sure there are no safeguarding issues. When you work in care you are really doing something new every single day, which is what I love.
What do you find the most challenging part of your job?
It’s interesting actually, as the bit I enjoy the most is also the most challenging part of the role. As my job can be so busy and varied, reprioritising throughout the day on a regular basis can be challenging.
The other thing I have found more challenging recently is recruiting people that want to work in care for the right reasons. However, by implementing a value-based recruitment system and having strong company values I think you can avoid misleading recruitment. Nonetheless this has been a great learning experience for us as an agency to work out how to get the right people on board.
What are your hours of work and how does this fit around your personal life?
My contracted hours of work are 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. However, we are a 24 hour, seven days a week care agency so it’s not uncommon to have to work outside of those hours. We have a 24/7 emergency helpline with 3 people on-call each night. This changes on a weekly basis but I am always the third person on call because I am the Safeguarding Lead. However, I do have a really good work life balance and I think this is partly owed to the fact that I have a very trustworthy team. I know that they are aware of the procedures to follow for an emergency and have full confidence that if it needs to be escalated to me, then they will escalate it.
I may sometimes have to work on weekends occasionally but that’s usually only ever situations that could not have been foreseen, which is the nature of working with people to be honest.
In your day-to-day role, how do you enable clients to live as independently as possible?
One of the things I love most about Live-In care is that it is personal and bespoke one-to-one care. We always have one Care Assistant or two to support someone which means there never needs to be a compromise on a person’s routine. This means that they can get up when they want, eat when they want and can choose what they want such as the clothing they wear or the activities that they do.
It’s easier than some other care environments because we can tailor make a routine that works best for the person being supported. This in-turn promotes independence because they ultimately are the ones dictating exactly how they want their care to be, and when they want it to be. Living in their homes for as long as possible is our top priority and is essentially why they opted for live in care.
What would you say to someone considering a career in care?
I would say jump in feet first! Working in care opens a huge learning opportunity and I don’t think it’s an industry you would ever get bored in. It’s an extremely rewarding career choice where you’ll come home one evening and look back at your day and say to yourself “I’ve really impacted someone else’s life” which doesn’t occur in many other roles.
I really do think it’s a great career path as there’s so many different roles available and it’s somewhere you’ll always continue to learn. I think the broadness of a career in care is sometimes underestimated!
Would you like to progress in your career? If so, what would you like to do next?
I am currently awaiting to have my CQC interview so that I can become the Registered Manager, so fingers crossed I pass that!
I am very content with the progression that I’ve made and feel very lucky to work here. I think a part of me will always come back to my roots with regards to teaching and potentially in the future I may look further into the trainer side of things once I have gained more experience within the industry.