From Home Manager to Regional Director: Working in a leadership role at Bupa
8 years ago, Suzie joined Bupa as a Care Home Manager and has been on quite a career journey ever since! She’s progressed through various roles and now manages a portfolio of care homes in the Home Counties area.
Talk me through your career journey
I didn’t come to nursing until later in my career, I actually trained and worked as a Biomedical Scientist first. I started my nurse training in 2002 and went to work in the NHS. I worked on the Cardiac High Dependency unit for 2 years and then Intensive Care for 5 years.
What made you go into the care sector?
I wanted to make a difference - that’s why I went into nursing in the first place. I remember when I left Intensive Care people would say to me “why would you want to leave that to go work in a care home?” I wanted to make people’s quality of life better, and I thought that the care sector is where I could make a real difference. In the 3 years after I left the NHS, I worked for various small care providers but none of them were the right fit. I was getting to the point where I thought that maybe working in the care sector wasn’t what I should be doing. I thought I would give it one last shot and applied to work at a Bupa care home – 8 years later and I’m still here!
What has your career journey at Bupa been like?
I joined Bupa as a Care Home Manager and worked in that role for 2 years before moving to another Bupa home. I had been working there for about 18 months when a Regional Support Manager role became available, and I put myself forward. I worked as an RSM, supporting multiple care homes across the business and then progressed to Regional Director in 2019.
What’s the difference between Bupa and other providers you worked for?
The other care homes that I worked in were all small independent homes and I didn’t feel that there was the right support in place. At Bupa, there’s so much support available but also the freedom to effect change and make a real difference. You’re never alone Bupa, there’s always someone I can turn to if I need support. There’s also a lot to get involved in at Bupa. Throughout my time here, I’ve been involved in various projects, supporting all areas of the business so I’ve not stopped learning and developing.
What kind of support were you given to progress at Bupa?
I’ve had an abundance of support. Anytime I wanted to progress, a clear pathway was set out for me on how to reach the next step. But I also know that if I was happy staying at one level that would have been supported as well. I’ve been on every course out there, completed my Level 5 Leadership and Management Award and Bupa paid for me to complete the Post Graduate Certificate in Dementia Studies at Bradford University. I can’t fault the support I’ve been given to progress and to also ensure I continuously developed my skills. If you’ve got drive and you want it – you just have to ask, and the support is there.
We always welcome new faces but it’s also really important to us to progress people internally that want it. It’s been great to support other people going through development journey like I have.
What’s your favourite thing about working in a leadership role in care?
I love that I can really make a difference and support our teams to provide the best care for our residents. When I worked as a Regional Support Manager, I got a real satisfaction from going into different homes and improving their processes and quality of care for our residents. That’s the difference I wanted to make. I knew that to achieve this goal I needed to progress to do that.
When I was at the NHS, there was a certain image portrayed to me about the care sector and I’m so glad that I ignored it. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if I’d listened. Does it have its moments where it’s really challenging? Yes. Do I ever regret it? Absolutely not. If my role makes a difference to just one resident’s life, then its job done for me.
Inspired by Suzie’s story? Join our Talent Community to find out more about Home Manager opportunities at Bupa.