How did you get into care?
I didn’t want to be a carer originally. When I was at school, we had to do work placements and I thought I wanted to be a nurse. I worked at a psychiatric unit and I didn’t enjoy it. So originally, I went into retail, where I stayed for 7 years. During this time, my grandmother had a fall. I received a call, rushed to see her and had to call for an ambulance. Unfortunately, she passed away as a result of this. I felt if I had more knowledge I could have prevented this. I sent myself to college and did a BTEC in Care. It was my grandmother that made me get into care and I’ve been in care for about 30 years now.
How has your career in care progressed?
Before I came here in January 2010, when the care home had only been opened for a couple of months, I worked for another care home for 15 years as a Care Assistant, Senior Care Assistant and then Activities Manager. When I came here, I was approached by a nurse I had previously worked with, and she pushed me to apply for the Activities Coordinator role. I was very hesitant as I had been with the same company for so long but it was time for a change. This role was a new role and I had the chance to make it my own, which I did. In the nearly 9 years I have been here, I have been an Activities Coordinator, Care Assistant, Trainer, Management Support and now I am a Training and Development Manager.
What does your role involve?
Audits, supervisions, inductions and training, and floor checks. I do a lot of walk-about training; if I see someone struggling or needing some extra support in any aspect of their work, I am able to train, support and guide there and then. I also help out wherever I am needed across the home; we have a great team here.
What training and qualifications have you received?
I have completed a lot of training at HCPA. I’ve completed the ‘Falls and the Dementia Champion Pathways’. I have also completed ‘Safeguarding training’, became an accredited trainer, and completed Training management courses at HCPA.
How have you been supported in your role?
Both the managers that have worked here have been really supportive. The previous manager saw my potential and pushed me to develop in areas I was less confident in. Despite my progression, I sometimes lacked a little confidence, but she was always able to encourage me to take on new things. My current manager is just as supportive.
What do you love about working in care?
It is so rewarding. The residents’ life experiences are amazing. I tell the care staff that if you take the time, you will learn from them as well. We have one gentleman who has medals from a convoy in the Second World War. We made a collage on his wall of his life based on photos and the stories he has told us. He remembers everything, and said he’d still go back now to work on the ships if he could. Some of the stories are absolutely amazing. It’s about making the best for them in this, usually, final stage of their life.
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
It’s the only job where you’re not looking at the time; it’s like having a second family. My mum has Alzheimer’s, which she was diagnosed with a few years ago, so that made me even more aware of how staff treat and interact with residents. I’ve been the worried and concerned family member. You have to treat residents how you would like your own family member to be treated.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
Resources and funds. I would love to have more entertainment, and a greater variety of it. I try to recycle everything we use and, consequently, have a storage room with things from years back when I first started that can be used again and again within the engagement team.
What would you say to someone who has hesitations about coming into care?
You get a lot of support from the staff. I help anyone who is interested in care for the right reasons, even if they are hesitant. My own daughter works in community care and never in a million years did I think she would do care. It’s absolutely brilliant. You have to just give it a go and you build confidence as you go. It can be upsetting at times but every day is highly rewarding. We have an open-door policy so you always get the support from leadership you need.