Judith, a Senior Carer at Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre Stagenhoe, was in her late 50's and looking for a new career path when a friend suggested she apply for a job at the centre. She talks about why it's never too late to find your perfect job and why Stagenhoe is such an enjoyable place to work.
How I became a carer
Initially, I joined an agency, and I did just over two years working in the community. I then worked for two different care homes, which I enjoyed. One of my colleagues left and worked for an agency that placed her at Stagenhoe. She called me up and told me that it was a brilliant place to work and that it would be right up my street.
The first time I visited the centre I was impressed and I applied in person there and then. Then, after I started, the position of Senior Carer came up so I went for it.
I think the work that Sue Ryder does with neurological care is very special and that the opportunities we have here are very good. When new staff members arrive they might not have experience of caring for people with neurological conditions, but there are plenty of training courses and chances to progress.
If there is a course that I think would be beneficial then I am encouraged to go on it. I feel privileged, I’m 67 this year and I’m still given all the opportunities. My managers are always willing to listen and encourage me to implement what I have learnt.
A supportive environment
Everyone pulls together and works so well together. Last year we set up a special Covid-19 unit for people and it was put together so well, everyone in the home helped with it, even if they weren’t working in it themselves. There was so much support from the management team; they would come and thank everyone for their hard work at the end of a shift - that would mean so much.
If you come up with suggestions, there’s always someone willing to listen and to take on board what’s been said. The managers are the same, they are always around and are very approachable. Good communication and a supportive atmosphere are so important. On a personal level I’ve had a lot of support too. After my partner died suddenly last year everyone was so helpful.
We have monthly awards where staff can nominate each other to be that month’s champion. When you are working every day with someone you don’t always realise what impact they have, so having the chance to put someone forward to make sure all the ‘extra’ things that they do are recognised is great.
Time to get to know the patients
I enjoy the fact that I have the time to get to know more about the patients and understand their particular conditions. We all work hard, but it’s so lovely to go in and talk to a patient and when you get a smile, it just makes your day.
I wish I’d found this earlier in life, I really do. I think once you find something that you’re passionate about and that gives you a lot, it makes a great difference. I get up in the morning and I look forward to going in, I absolutely love my work.
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