Opinion

From the ground up: leading from the frontline

Gaby Wills, Jewish Care’s Director of Care, Housing and Hospitality

We value our talented staff, they are the beating heart of Jewish Care and it’s satisfying to see them progress and develop their skills and careers.

Two of our Registered Managers, Vic Fitzwalter and Tuzani Chitsa, have taken different paths at Jewish Care, the largest health and social care organisation serving the Jewish community in London and the South East. 

In 2017, Vic Fitzwalter joined Jewish Care as a Deputy Manager and he became the Registered Manager at Jewish Care’s Stella & Harry Freedman House last year.

Vic Fitzwalter

Vic explains, “Since I began my role, I’ve felt really supported by the team. It’s a big home and each floor of the home has a Care Manager and there’s a Deputy Manager to help support the Registered Manager. The support throughout the pandemic has been amazing. The decisions made by the senior management and clinical leads have meant that we’ve been able to keep our staff and residents protected and safe.”

Vic started his career in care almost twenty years ago whilst studying social sciences at university. He worked part-time as a carer for adults with severe learning disabilities and autism and later went on to work in rehabilitation for adults with brain injuries.

“I don’t know of any other work environment as supportive as this one is,” says Vic. “Coming in without prior knowledge of Jewish culture was made easy as there is training around the Jewish Way of Life to help inform the provision of culturally specific social care, as well as with policy, procedures and management.

“The Learning and Development team provide training on managing people and difficult situations. I have processes to follow and to refer to as things come up. It also helps that I can talk to clinical lead specialists and take advice when it comes to safeguarding, compliance and end of life care.

“I love what I do now. I enjoy supporting members of staff to develop and become more qualified as they go from carer to team leaders.

“It’s rewarding seeing older people with complex medical conditions come into the home and flourish to have a meaningful life prolonged by the care and support our staff give. At the same time, seeing the end-of-life care and support and the feeling that goes into it to help people have a good and meaningful end of life is extremely commendable. I also feel that being able to care for Holocaust survivors in our homes in later life and end of life is very special.

“As a manager, I’m only human, sometimes I could do things a little bit better, I’m aware of that and I try to support my staff with that sense of understanding too. It’s a community at Jewish Care and people are really there to help whenever they can.”

At Jewish Care we are proud that nine of ten Registered Managers of the residential care homes have progressed through the organisation.

Tuzani Chitsa

Tuzani Chitsa began working at Jewish Care 15 years ago as a part time night carer whist she was studying as a nurse. Within a few years Tuzani progressed to become a Senior Nurse and became then Care Manager at what was then Jewish Care’s Princess Alexandra Home in 2015.

In 2021, Tuzani was appointed as the Interim Registered Manager at Jewish Care’s Anita Dorfman House at Sandringham when her predecessor retired, and officially started her role as Registered Manager at the home in January this year. As part of her continued development, Tuzani is currently undertaking NVQ L5 leadership management and represents North West London at the RCN Elderly Care Forums.

“Through my experience as a nurse working at Jewish Care, I am proud to say I have gained in depth knowledge of the way in which evidence-based nursing care improves quality of life, prevents deterioration and when the time comes, supports residents at the end of life,” explains Tuzani.

“I am constantly on my toes to ensure residents get the best care and monitor the home to ensure it meets all the regulations and maintains compliance. I am passionate about empowering my team in continued professional development.

“I believe as long as I continue to share the vision helping staff believe they are part of something bigger than themselves and their daily work, they will adapt and adjust.”

It is well-known for people to stay at Jewish Care for a long time, and I think that’s because we give people the opportunities to do their best and help them to develop.

We are always ready for the next champion and we see that our carers are so talented and have so many strengths. We value, invest and support staff to become Team Leaders, Care Managers and prepare for opportunities. We encourage staff to express their individuality and background. We want to help people to grow into their next role and offer the support and time to develop and to take the next step and give it a try, because you don’t know until you try.

 

 

 

Edel Harris

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