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Progressing in the care sector: My nursing career

I sort of fell into nursing. I opened the newspaper one day and there was an advert for Mental Health Nursing at the University of Hertfordshire. I went in for an informal conversation and started studying there not long after.
I joined Bupa in 1999 while I was studying and worked at Brunswick Court Care Home as a Care Assistant. Working in this role gave me an insight into how the care sector functioned and it became an area that I wanted to progress in. After qualifying, I moved into an RMN role and then progressed to Unit Manager a few years later.
I worked as the Unit Manager for a couple of years, progressed to Deputy Manager and then became the Home Manager at another Bupa care home. I went on to manage various Bupa homes and supported with training staff before joining the team at Erskine Hall, where I’ve been the manager since 2017.
There are a lot misconceptions about working as a nurse in care, but everyone in the sector knows how inaccurate these are. I’ve spent 20 years working in care, if they were all true, I wouldn’t have stayed this long! The perception that in care there’s only residential residents should be long gone. It’s far more clinically intensive than it was years ago, and it can be quite acute at times. At Bupa, there’s support for nurses but there’s also a lot of responsibility – you manage the clinical decisions and liaise with other healthcare professionals on a daily basis.
There are more opportunities now to progress than ever before, not just for nurses, but for care staff as well. I’ve personally had opportunities to progress, and I’ve been supported to develop my skills too. Bupa put me through various training courses, and I’ve completed the Level 5 Leadership and Management Award. I now use my experience to help support my team. I have various members of staff from all roles doing courses and qualifications - I really empower people to develop if that’s what they want.
It’s a challenging sector, it can be difficult at times, but the rewards greatly out way some of the challenges we face. The positive changes you can make, and the impact you can have on other people’s lives, is the most rewarding feeling. It’s been over 20 years and I still wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. 
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