Donna Lee: from kitchen to care
Throughout the year we profile a care professional who has come into the sector after a career change and who demonstrates that it really is never too late to care! This month we meet Donna Lee, Home Manager at Studley Rose, who worked her way up from kitchen assistant to home manager.
After another turbulent year in social care, those who work within the industry have been asked to employ unprecedented levels of resilience in order to take care of their residents. Donna Lee, Home Manager at Studley Rose, which forms part of the Macc Care collection, is no exception and is currently transitioning into her new role, after what was a unique start to a career in care.
Donna started out in a care home as a kitchen assistant, working on weekends whilst she completed a BTEC diploma in hospitality and food supervision at college. She was in need of a job at the time and was unsure about her future career aspirations. A local care home kitchen was the perfect temporary solution — or so she thought.
The strong sense of community and clear opportunity for professional development soon ignited a spark in Donna, which would eventually lead to a successful career within the industry.
As time progressed, Donna began to seek more hours alongside her kitchen shifts and was eventually asked if she wanted to help out as a care assistant. Here, she began to interact with residents and developed a first-hand understanding of how quality care can impact their lives. With a newfound passion for care, Donna decided to complete her nurse training in 2011 and since then, she has continued to work within the sector, providing the very best clinical care — with the resident at the heart of everything she does.
Since her training, Donna has worked in many roles such as a registered nurse, deputy manager and now home manager, where she will not only focus on the well-being of those under her care — but also the training and development of her staff. Developing staff is a priority in her new role and she is hoping to use her experience to show them that with the right attitude, you really can achieve anything.
Despite her clinical expertise, she has always been drawn back to the care industry thanks to that initial experience whilst at college. With continued complications following on from the pandemic and staff shortages being an issue across the sector, Donna’s story illustrates just how rewarding this industry can be and that we are now entering a new era of care.
Donna had this to say on her transition from kitchen assistant to home manager: “Seeing your residents smile is the most valuable currency in care and something I knew I wanted to pursue right from the start. My route into care was somewhat unique, yet once I was exposed to the opportunities in front of me, I jumped in headfirst. My dream was always to work within hospitality, however, care showed me that I could still offer a top quality service, whilst also helping elderly residents see out their final years with dignity and respect.”
Donna continued: “in my opinion, it’s never too late to care. As long as you have the desire along with the mental and physical strength, anyone can start. However, this is not a job that should be taken lightly as you’re dealing with vulnerable people, not objects. I started with nothing more than a passion for care and I am now embarking on the most senior position of my career — that’s the kind of industry we work in.”
Sharen Guise, Director of Operations at Macc Care, said: “Donna’s exceptional attitude and diligence has made her extremely popular amongst staff and residents at Studley Rose and will serve her well in her new role. Macc Care is all about new beginnings, which is why all our homes contain the word ‘Rose’ — back in 2006 Donna had a new beginning in care and her story highlights just how progressive this industry can be.”