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The best of both worlds

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Hand on heart, I’ve genuinely got the best work/life balance – I’m happy at work and I’m happy at home.

Having studied childcare alongside A’ levels and having a mum who worked in childcare, I considered paediatric nursing when I applied to university. That all changed when I saw a young child coming out of surgery one day, clearly in pain and screaming. I knew then that it wasn’t for me – I wasn’t the person who could cope with the distress and emotions often linked with paediatric medicine.

Having worked as a carer for the year prior to university and then continuing to care whilst being a student nurse, I found myself in different placements and realised very quickly how much I LOVED working in elderly care. I could communicate with them, I could help them, I could give them a voice and it was so rewarding. No-one wants to be in hospital but, for me, if I could make their day slightly better, then it was definitely worthwhile. To help a 102 year old lady recover to a point where she was medically fit and able to be sent home to live INDEPENDENTLY was just incredible! To work in rehabilitation making people well enough to return home felt like such a fantastic achievement. I knew then that this was my passion.

Unfortunately over time, the ups and downs of the NHS got to me…the time pressures, the unrealistic expectations, lack of resources left me feeling each day that I hadn’t been the best nurse I could have been. I needed to move out of the NHS…

Luckily in 2014, my dream job arose at Brendoncare Knightwood’s rehab unit. A chance to help patients regain their independence meaning I was once again able to provide care and emotional support and actually HAVE THE TIME TO DO IT. The pace was so different. I felt once more like I was able to do my upmost for each person – to give them the time they needed.

During a transitional period and changes in management, I recognised the importance of someone ‘stepping up’ to help manage, someone who would have the ability to make decisions that would make a difference to the people I was caring for. I had to give it a go. Unfortunately things don’t last forever. The rehab unit closed and I found myself entering what I considered to be the very opposite end of the spectrum – a nursing home – where people lived with support often until the end of life.

I was very apprehensive but from day one, I felt I was in someone’s home rather than a place of work. With a wonderfully friendly atmosphere and a fantastically supportive boss, I LOVE IT! Even now, if I can instil a bit of rehab in the every day lives of residents, making them as independent as possible, I will. Unlike the relatively quick ‘turnover’ of rehab patients, here at The Old Parsonage, I can really get to know each resident and their family. It’s definitely the little things that make a big difference and I try everyday to do the small things just to bring smiles to the residents’ faces. I know their likes and dislikes and I can give a bit more time because I have more time. And when the inevitable arises, which it does in a care home, to be with someone in their final hours is an absolute privilege.

Click here to read more from some of our amazing team of nurses, all with different experiences but all championing this very great profession.