We continue to welcome nursing professionals who choose our care homes as their preferred workplaces over hospitals or other healthcare settings.
They come to us for different reasons, often reflecting national trends.
In its latest employment survey, published in December 2021, the RCN found that one in five of its members, 65% of whom work in the NHS – was actively planning to leave their job and a further two were thinking about moving on.
The most common reasons cited by prospective leavers include exhaustion, low staffing levels, too much pressure and a feeling of being undervalued.
For Aby Ford, the decision to swap the NHS for our Outstanding-rated Poole home Canford Chase was a positive one that opens up a host of fresh career possibilities.
After qualifying as an RGN in 2019, Aby started acute surgical nursing at Poole General Hospital.
Six months in, the pandemic hit and she switched to a Covid medical ward with a focus on ICU nursing. “It was a very hard time for everyone in healthcare,” she recalls. “I stayed for another six months and then decided I wanted something more autonomous so I went into community nursing.”
As she continued to develop her skills and experience, Aby found herself thinking more and more about the care home sector even though she was aware of the challenges there too.
“I really used to enjoy going into care homes,” she says. “For a while I had to go into two homes at least once a week. They were run by other providers, not Colten Care, and I saw staff struggling and at breaking point. I would quite happily give staff a break by offering to help with a resident’s personal care if that was appropriate. I would see staff deflated and would try to talk it over with them and make them aware they were supported.”
Eventually Aby decided to leave. “It was getting more intense and I found myself wanting to spend more time getting to know people and their families rather than just going in to give medication.
“I looked at different providers and found Colten Care online. I read all the reviews, the nursing job descriptions and learned about the company’s values. It was clearly a great place to work. I applied for the role at Canford Chase and was lucky enough to get it.”
Opened in 1998 and preparing for its silver anniversary next year, Canford Chase is widely recognised for the quality of its care. As well as being officially rated Outstanding by the CQC, the home has a national accolade for end-of-life care and a ten-out-of-ten score on the independent review site Carehome.co.uk.
“I love it here,” says Aby. “I’m picking up so many different skills in all aspects of nursing. I had a really supportive induction. My Operations Manager, Home Manager, Clinical Lead and other colleagues all made sure I had the help I needed. I finished my induction confident and comfortable that I could deliver safe nursing care.”
On her ambitions from now, Aby says: “Over the next two to five years I would like to start a progression into a senior nurse role but I want to get settled first and then see where the opportunities are from there. I would like to stay within Colten Care. I love the residents and staff.”
Asked to reflect on her career path, Aby adds: “I don’t feel guilty about leaving the NHS. It was the best decision I could have made. I have tremendous job satisfaction now. I work in a friendly, close-knit team in the clear knowledge that if you want to do well, they will support you. I go home from work knowing I have done a good job.”