To say I have always wanted to be a nurse is an understatement! By the time I was able to find a nursing costume that was small enough for me, I was practically half way there; diagnosing my sisters with all sorts of weird and wonderful things.
Never in a million years did I dream of achieving what I have and being where I am today.
My proudest moment throughout my nurse training was during a placement at Grove Court Care Home, where I had the privilege to hold an elderly lady’s hand as she took her final breaths. Knowing that I was the last person who interacted with that lady and assisted in ensuring her comfort at such a sad time is something I was very proud of. From thereon, End of Life Care has been my ultimate passion.
During the remainder of my nurse training, I was disappointed to learn that within the NHS, time did not allow the same high standard in End of Life Care. Although nurses delivered a dignified death, I found my previous experience in the care home made my expectations of End of Life Care too difficult to fulfil. I felt that with each patient lost, there was another person who had died alone, with no one holding their hand. So, upon qualifying, my route into social care was an easy decision. Grove Court Care Home was definitely the place for me.
I was the only nurse on my cohort who had made the decision to go straight into social care. It was a decision some of my fellow students frowned upon but for my personal and professional development was the best decision I could have made. My skills continue to grow through further education, financially supported by the care home I work in. Another benefit of working in social care is the loyal team of nurses who ensure clients are treated with respect, dignity and person centred care. Unlike the NHS, our clients are with us for longer periods of time. This allows us to form solid relationships with clients and their families. Really knowing our clients guarantees continuity and a higher standard quality of life.
I have now been qualified for nearly 6 years and in that time the support that I have received within Grove Court has allowed me to grow as a nurse. The support and resources available within social care have been amazing, having never deskilled. It has empowered me to set up a campaign with my local university to encourage newly qualified nurses into the social care environment. If I can promote nursing in social care to the next generation, then local care homes will continue to grow and be able to support vulnerable adults in their final years.
In March 2018 I was awarded the Great British Care Award for ‘The Good Nurse’ at the National Finals. Although extremely proud to receive such a prestigious award, it is fair to say that I would not be where I am now without the network and support from other nurses in social care. To be a good nurse it is crucial to understand the importance of teamwork, strive for greater things and have your clients are the forefront of every decision made.
Now working as a Clinical Lead and leading our Gold Standards Framework accreditation, I am proud to say that we have recently achieved PLATINUM AWARD and Grove Court specialises in End of Life Care. This reward frequently confirms my decision to enter the world of social care and reminds me of the importance to continue to strive for more. No matter what my position and where my career may take me, I will always have time to hold that elderly lady’s hand.