Development, progression and rewarding moments: Working in the care sector
Kelly started her career in the Domiciliary Care Sector before joining the team at Bupa in 2019. Since then, she’s progressed to Senior Care Assistant and made lasting memories with our residents.
What made you originally go into care?
I needed a job that would fit around my children's school hours. One day when I was doing the school run, I saw one of the other mums had a fleece on with a care provider name on it. I went over and asked her about where she worked, and she told me that she worked in Domiciliary Care and how much she loved it. I really missed being involved with people and having that interaction every day so I thought I would give it a try. I started working for a Domiciliary Care provider and I’d worked my way up to Care Co-ordinator before I went on maternity leave with my third child.
What made you join Bupa and what’s your journey here been like?
After my maternity leave, I needed a role that fit in better with my family life and I was ready for something new. I applied to work at Bupa’s Erskine Hall Care Home, and I started there as a Care Assistant in April 2019. After about a week of working in that role I spoke to my manager about progressing to Senior Care Assistant. I didn’t have the Level 3 when I applied which is why I came in as a Care Assistant, but with my experience, I just felt that I was able to do more, and my manager agreed. I progressed to Senior Care Assistant and worked in that role for 10 months before going on maternity leave again.
While I was on maternity leave, my Unit Manager at Erskine Hall progressed to Deputy Manager at another care home, Tenterden House. We kept in touch, and I’d regularly catch up with her to see how she was getting on. I was due to come back from maternity leave and I needed a new challenge. I spoke to her about Tenterden House and the different care they provided for their residents, and I was really interested in working there. I spoke to the manager, applied for their Senior Care Assistant role and I’ve now worked at Tenterden House since December 2020 and I’m loving it!
What do you think about the support with development and progression that’s offered at Bupa?
Alongside working in care, I started doing my Nursing degree. I had to pause my studies whilst I went on maternity leave and there’s been a delay in getting back on the course due to COVID, so I still haven’t finished my first year yet. I recently had an open conversation with my manager about not going back to complete it. He was supportive of whatever I chose to do, but he also spoke to me about the progression opportunities in care from a non-clinical perspective. I’ve already been put forward for Bupa’s ‘Flying High’ Programme with the aim of progressing to either Resident Experience Manager or Deputy Manager within 18 months. If I don’t return to Nursing, my manager talked to me about doing the Level 5 Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care, so I’ve got various options now.
The support I’ve had at Bupa has been amazing and not just from my manager. The Nursing team at Tenterden House have really taken me under their wing as well. They knew that I wanted to learn more, and they’ve really made an effort to teach me different duties such as wound dressing. I’ve learned so much since coming to Tenterden House. The manager, Abi, will really support you to progress and develop if you want to. If there’s anything I don’t know or I want to learn more about, I just email Abi, and he sources some training in that area. I know that I can always go to him about anything career related, and he’ll support me 100%.
Did you have preconceptions about working in care before you started?
I thought that I would find working in a care home boring to be honest, especially after working in the Domiciliary Care sector where you’re constantly travelling around, but that’s not been the case at all. I actually enjoy it more! There’s more time to spend with residents – even if I’m busy and I have paperwork to do, I can still sit in the lounge with the residents whilst completing it and be around everything going on.
Do you have a favourite memory from your time in care?
When I worked at Erskine Hall, there was a lady who was on oxygen and very rarely came out of her room. Her son came for a visit one day and we managed to get her in the dining room, and they took part in a quiz. He said to me "it’s such a shame we can’t get her outside in this weather" and I thought why not, let’s make this happen. I found my Resident Experience Manager to ask if it was okay and if we had any extension leads so we could do it. We managed to get her outside and the look on her face was priceless! She was only outside for a short time but to see how happy it made her was amazing and her son was so touched. It’s something that I’ll always remember.
What’s your favourite thing about working in care?
No day is ever the same and I love hearing about our residents’ lives and the things they’ve done. I always want to have a good time – even at work. No-one wants to get up every day and spend the day being miserable. I work hard but I also love to laugh and joke at work and that’s exactly what I get to do here. It’s a home from home – I spend more time with the team here than my family sometimes, so it is like having a second family. Sometimes people think this job is easy and we just take people to the toilet and make cups of tea and it’s far from that. There are times that it can be a thankless job, but if I make a difference to one resident’s life then that’s enough for me. People coming towards the end of their life don’t always get to be as happy as they could be. My aim every day is to make people laugh and smile – I love cheering up the residents and being silly with them. It makes the challenges of the job all worthwhile. I’ve done it before where I’ve made myself go to work and just got on with it because it’s a job and I’m not doing that again. Now, I genuinely love my job and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
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