As Healthcare Director at Vida, my work brings me into contact with nurses and care staff from all walks of life, working in many different roles and environments. What always strikes me about everyone I meet is their desire to make a difference to the lives of the people in their care. It’s incredibly inspiring and, being a nurse myself, it’s something I can wholeheartedly relate to. It’s the reason I started working in care more than 30 years ago, and reason I’m still doing it to this day.
I often have conversations with nurses and carers who contact me to find out about opportunities at Vida. Time and again I hear from people who are feeling overworked and undervalued. It’s heart-breaking to hear such dedicated, selfless people feeling so fed up and disillusioned; people who have lost their passion for care.
It’s no secret that nurses and carers work long hours. The work is hard and it can be emotionally challenging. So why do we do it? Well in my experience, the best nurses and carers do for the emotional reward; there really is no better feeling than the one you get when you’ve helped someone in need and changed their life. At Vida, it’s my job to ensure my team realise what an important contribution they make, and appreciate the impact of their actions. I want everyone to feel really valued – because they really are the greatest asset we have.
Caring for people shouldn’t feel like an endless conveyor belt. If you’ve got one eye on the clock and you’re distracted by a mountain of looming paperwork, you simply can’t deliver quality care.
At Vida, my teams have time to spend with their residents and service users, and build genuine relationships with them. We get to know people’s personalities – not just their prescriptions. It’s only then that you can fully understand and appreciate the progress someone is making, or spot when something might not be quite right. When you can see the progress and the difference you’ve made to someone’s day, the job satisfaction you get is beyond compare.
But it’s not just having the time for your residents and services users; it’s also about having time for yourself too. You need time to reflect on your work, on your day, or the way you handled a particular scenario. If something went really well, you need time to celebrate that and share it with your colleagues. If something didn’t go so well, you need time to figure out how to improve things for next time. Which brings me onto my next point: training.
To be a great nurse or carer, you also need the skills and the confidence to do your job well. I can’t overstate the importance of providing flexible, ongoing training for everyone. And I mean everyone, not just the senior staff, and not forgetting the people who work night shifts, who may need to be trained outside of normal hours or have their usual shift patterns adapted.
At Vida, we have an in-house Learning & Development Manager as well as a Progressive Training Manager, to provide group and one to one training sessions, both in the classroom and on shift, so staff can benefit from ongoing training and feedback. A well-trained team will ultimately be a happier, more effective team, as people will begin to support one another and share best practice.
Some people find their perfect role and want to stay in that role and excel in it. Other people want to progress through roles, taking on more responsibility along the way. Either approach is fine, but it illustrates why it’s so important to regularly catch up with people and find out how they are feeling in their role and where they see themselves in the future.
With nurses in particular, I often hear from applicants who want to feel they are trusted to make decisions and work independently. They want to ‘make their mark’ on a home by sharing their enthusiasm and expertise with their colleagues, and they want to lead their team with confidence, knowing they have the support of senior colleagues. A huge part of my job is to support this kind of positivity and ambition. I always strive to create opportunities for progression, for those people who truly embrace the ethos of the home and want to be at the top of their game.
Reignite your passion for care
If you’re working in care but you feel like you’ve lost your motivation, don’t be down in the dumps; be proactive and do something about it. Take some time to figure out what’s missing from your day that stops you from feeling like you’ve made a difference. If you can’t address that in your current role, then maybe it’s time for a change? Do some research and look into opportunities – there’s a rewarding role out there for you.
Bernadette Mossman is Healthcare Director at Vida Healthcare and the Registered Manager at the company’s newest home, Vida Grange. You can get in touch with her at email@example.com or by calling 01423 788770.
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