I’ve worked in the care sector for 30 years. I started as a care assistant, following in my Mum’s footsteps, and have been working my way up ever since.
My career with Borough Care began 16 years ago and has spanned across all of our services, from intermediate care to dementia care homes, high-dependency homes, and extra care schemes. It feels like I’ve worked in all the different types of service you can work in, but if I’ve taken anything from my experiences, it’s that – for me – it doesn’t matter which part of the organisation you work in; it’s about supporting people to live their best possible lives and you can do that in all adult social care services.
Before I took on this role, I was lucky enough to work a secondment. I spent 18 months carrying out medication audits and had an instrumental part to play in implementing a new electronic system across all of our homes. Part of what I loved about this project was getting the opportunity to train people in using the new system – sharing my knowledge with others is a really important part of my job and is something I take with me everywhere I go.
Marbury House is a rehabilitation-based home. Individuals that come to stay at Marbury House are usually transferred from an hospital setting following treatment or surgery. The primary goal for the placement is that we complete an holistic assessment and enable people to regain independence and return home. It is a multi disciplinary team made up of care teams as well as staff from across the health sector and adult social care.
Borough Care is such a great organisation to work for because it really invests in its staff and offers so many different directions for us to go in, because of the diverse services it operates. I like working so closely with the NHS and think I’ve picked up a lot of skills from my experience doing this.
My current role is as Home Manager. I’ve been here since September 2017 and it still amazes me how much can change so quickly here. We have 41 beds which are all local authority funded, as our referrals almost always come from hospitals.
My days are usually spent negotiating between meetings with our in-house multidisciplinary team and generally trying to keep on top of all the other things that are happening. The aim of our service is to get people out of hospital and back into their own homes. We don’t provide long-term support to people so it’s an extremely fast-paced environment and that can be challenging but I’m a very positive, proactive person and feel I manage the pressure well.
My ultimate goal has always been to be a registered manager. I’ve tried different roles within the company, like the secondment I did, and have enjoyed many of them, but my career has led me here.
I was already working with Borough Care as a deputy manager when I applied for the Home Manager position. I was interviewed and was successful in obtaining the position at Marbury House.
As a deputy manager, I had an idea of the amount of responsibility involved in being a registered manager and I knew that taking full legal responsibility would be a big change. I think it helps that I was prepared for this as it meant I could take it in my stride – it wasn’t a surprise to me to suddenly feel like I had a lot resting on me because during the deputy role I held a lot of responsibility and accountability.
One of the best parts of my job, and something I’ve always loved, is seeing the difference you can make to someone’s life, whether that’s having a conversation with them about something they’re interested in or supporting them to live independently again. Knowing that you’re also making a difference to their families is invaluable too.
Training staff is another great passion of mine. I’m a strong believer that caring, in itself, can’t be taught. To work in care, you have to be passionate about keeping people safe and secure. I think if you can identify those people and pass on your knowledge to help others to progress, your staff will be happy. I always do what I can to develop my staff and I don’t believe in holding precious what you know. In this service, where the constant change of patient flow makes it so hard, it’s important that you can just carry on and keep up, so I will do anything I can do to support my staff to do that.
It was our Head of Care who suggested I apply for Rising Stars. I knew a little about it from someone else at Borough Care having been part of it last year, but I didn’t properly understand it until I got all of the literature through.
I was surprised and pleased that my managers wanted me to be part of it. I am always looking at my staff and seeing how I can develop them and build them up to progress, and it was nice for someone to see something in me that they wanted to support.
The Rising Stars programme has been really beneficial and so in line with all the things I feel strongly about. The sharing of ideas and experiences has always been important to me and the programme actively supports that. Care is evolving – people are sharing – but there is still an issue with feeling like someone might plagiarise your work. In my opinion, this is exactly what we should be doing. If someone has done something and it has actually worked, the whole sector should be copying them and adapting the success to meet their own service’s needs. Sometimes, we get very bogged down with systems and forget to share innovations and skills and that’s a shame.
In terms of my own career, I’m always thinking of progression. I like the idea of becoming an Area Manager – my time on secondment showed me that that could be a good fit for me. I think I’d just like to keep moving forward. My career so far has been quite organic so I’ll keep following that path.
My advice to anyone aspiring to be a registered manager is to be open to mentoring and support. Ask questions as you step up and find out what is involved in a role before you take it on. Learn your line manager’s job and make sure it’s right for you before you make any decisions.
More information about the programme, the candidates and future opportunities can be found on the NCF website.