I qualified as a Mental Health Nurse in 2001 from Paisley University. Every post I have had has seen me working with individuals battling dementia. My experience ranges from staff nurse to care manager in these settings.
The job I do can be so satisfying in so many ways. The feeling of helping someone get better, and seeing that end result is unmatchable, the achievement of helping new staff members realise their potential is fantastic, working alongside medical staff to aid differential diagnosis in caring for our residents is personally fulfilling, but helping someone whom may otherwise lost smile, even for a moment is what makes my job worthwhile.
I initially applied for two courses, one was teaching the other nursing, the first was full, My grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's before I undertook training, that's what really steered me in the mental health direction.
To work as a team leader with Pacific Care it's important to have solid foundation nursing experience, in your field of expertise. As part of the Pacific Care team, our extensive collective knowledge and experience are shared between staff for the greater good of the individual residents we look after, the day you think you know it all is perhaps the day you should leave the profession.
Team leaders must be good listeners, effective managers, with empathy and compassion where appropriate. Never ask someone to do something you wouldn't do yourself.
I've been with Pacific Care for eight years now before I had only stayed max 4 years in any post. There is a massive difference between working for Pacific Care and working anywhere else. In the winter of 2010, we were pretty much snowed in at work, the Managing directors of Pacific Care turned up and dug our cars out if the snow, they also taxied everyone to and from work by 4x4, a month ago the directors and our manager did the same, now tell me they do that in the NHS ?
Pacific Care has enabled me to progress from Staff Nurse to team leader within a relatively short space of time. Working there really feels like part of a big family, managers and directors know your name, and they appreciate what you do. Team leaders from the Pacific Care family were recently put through The Royal College of Nursing leadership Course, a first for Scottish Care homes, and a fantastic experience for us. My project helped develop new person-centred plans of care for our residents.
Education and teamwork exercises are at the forefront of our development, there are practical, online, offsite NHS courses we all undertake regularly to keep up with current practice. The Pacific Care family regularly undertake parts of the west highland way, we cycle around Millport or get together for some friendly bowling, all vital team building exercises. I've worked for many health care providers but I know where I am just now is perhaps the best.
My working day can vary so much, our morning usually starts with all the team receiving a sound detailed handover from the previous team on duty, then we'll decide who will work where and the diary will be explored to ascertain the day's jobs. After a safety check, we will team up and start to help our residents start their day. The unit we work in uses Playlist for life to enhance communication, emotional wellness and to where possible, reduce stress and facilitate calmness and relaxation. We have a large Projector screen which will work with you-tube, DVD player, free view, all existing to try and make Residents life's that little bit better.
Our residents, rightly so, often tell us how the day will be, for example we may be called upon to use our palliative skills if someone is within the final stages of their lives, we may call upon our colleges in another unit to help us at such times, we may use the valuable input from our clinical liaison nurse and most probably speak with the medical staff we have built up a stable relationship with, everyone works together for the greater need of the individual.
If we're not so busy I may sit down at the piano and start a sing-song, or help one of our students understand blood pressure measurements, no two days are the same, I wouldn't want it otherwise.