Case study taken January 2019
How did you get into care?
A relative suggested to approach this company as they had worked for them before. I’ve worked for Crossroads Care since October 2017. Before that I was an illustrator for children’s books and worked from home, which I did for 23 years. Working from home was perfect when I was brining up my children, you have your own freedom, but it got to the point where I felt quite isolated and so I just needed to be out with people again. When I was 17 and 18 I did summer work in a hospital so I had an understanding of care. I had always wanted to work in care because I enjoyed the experience I had in the hospital, so I thought, ‘why not go for it again?’
What training and qualifications have you had?
I did my Care Certificate when I started but I am just enrolled to do my Level 2 Health and Social Care. We have a lot of in-house training. I am hoping to develop my skills here. I’m not a management person, I’m more of a hands-on person, but I’d never say never to progression. I still feel like such a newbie, and it doesn’t even feel like I have been here for a year. I’m taking it a step at a time and as time has progressed, I’m finding that it is really what I want to do long term. I haven’t thought where it would go yet, I am just loving what I am doing.
How supportive are your current team?
They have been brilliant. If ever I have felt like I’m a fish out of water there is always someone to ring and they will always put your mind at rest and point you in the right direction so they have been really good.
What hours do you work?
I’m on a 0 hours contract. I was supposed to do around 16 hours so that I could do my artwork, but it’s very hard not to say no. I build a rapport with my clients and if they need extra time with you then you find yourself doing more hours throughout the week. At the moment I am averaging 25 hours. I have my set visits with the occasional cover call if someone is off sick or on annual leave. Initially, it was supposed to be part time so that I could still do my artwork but it has overtaken that now and I’m enjoying what I’m doing now and the hours I work.
What do you love about working in care?
Every day is different, every day you come home at the end of the day and you feel like you have made a bit of a difference. That is all I can pin it down to, you get so much more satisfaction in feeling like you have made a difference. A client may text me and say they were really happy to see me today and so I come away and I have done myself proud.
What I did before was all about deadlines, you are on the go all the time, and you do not feel like you are doing anything for yourself as it is always for someone else. I enjoy going to work, that is the main thing.
Have you had any challenges in your role?
For me it was confidence. In my previous job working from home I felt very isolated. I reached a point where I was uncomfortable talking for people, even being on the phone – I always thought it was going to be someone moaning about a deadline so you end up feeling anxious all the time, it is little things like that. I had never had an interview before, I left university and went straight into my illustration job. Coming here, the first interview, training with people and being thrown in and meeting people every day, that in itself was a challenge. But bit by bit I am overcoming it.
On the other side of this challenge, I am learning through the job and learning through people and it has helped me out massively. I am even learning about myself. I would say it is probably the best thing I did coming to work in care, and I will do this for as long as I am physically able to.
How does working in care fit around your family?
I have two teenage sons. When I first started, they were very understanding about what my shift requirements were and they want it to fit around you too. I work 7.45am to 4.30pm so it works pretty well. I don’t do many weekends either unless I am needed to cover shifts. You have to be flexible but the management here are also flexible.
What would you say to someone who is hesitant about working in care?
You don’t come into this job thinking of wages. You are doing it because it is the kind of job that you want to do, it is how it makes you feel at the end of the day. It’s a challenge, every day is different, but you end your shift feeling like you have done some good. That’s all I wanted. Job satisfaction is a big deal and it is something you will get in care. Personal care puts a lot of people of but it did not bother me at all. It amazes me that some people work in care and have never had to do personal care. The job role has changed and it is part and parcel of the job.