11 January 2017
How promoting the uniqueness of each resident improves their well-being
Nurses play a crucial role at Hallmark Care Homes in enhancing the quality of life of our residents through the provision of personalised care and clinical input.
We caught up with Hallmark Care Homes’ multi-award-winning ‘Best Registered Nurse’ and Community Manager, Sue Povey, who works at Greenhill Manor, our care home in Merthyr Tydfil, to find out what it takes to be a Nurse and how caring should be more than just offering medical care.
What does a usual day in the home look like for you?
All of the residents I care for are very different, so I don’t think there is a typical day for me and that’s what I enjoy most about my role as a Nurse and Community Manager.
I arrive at the home at 8:00am and it’s always a very busy day, involving me on the phone, administering medication, meeting with professionals, attending reviews, caring for residents and mentoring students.
The shift always begins with a handover from the night to the day team, which discusses the allocation of resident needs for that day. This can be a lengthy process as assigning team to individual residents can sometimes be a challenge as their needs are very diverse and complex.
The mornings are always busy and it is important that I try to manage my time effectively if I’m to have a positive and productive day. My next task is to undertake the medication round and carry out other clinical procedures such as the monitoring of our residents blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
By mid-morning I have started to complete the tasks that are set out in the daily diary, such as the ordering of medication and arranging and attending hospital appointments. During my shift I will also liaise with various members of the disciplinary team such as Dieticians and Specialist Nurses and attend reviews planned for that day. The residents’ needs can be very complex so working in collaboration with other health professionals is imperative if a comprehensive plan of care is to be effectively delivered. Promoting a philosophy of care that is tailored to the holistic well-being of an individual is paramount, also if a good quality of life is to be attained.
After 5:00pm things are usually a little less hectic and I will always try to spend some quality time chatting to the residents and their visiting families. It’s really interesting listening to their life stories and enjoying a good giggle together, especially when they talk about the things they got up to in their younger years. This is also an ideal opportunity to discuss any concerns the residents or family members may have and I believe this is very important, if I am to build trust and a good working relationship with them.
Much thought, preparation and planning is also given to the residents’ activities at this time and with support of the Activity Coordinator really works well. I believe that providing meaningful life experiences for the residents is very important and individuals regularly go on holidays, attend major sporting events, concerts and visit places of interest with our support. I also arrange and plan charity fundraising events which the residents actively contribute to. Participation in such events promotes positive engagement and social inclusion for individuals within their community.
As I head home at the end of my day, I like to put the radio on loud, have a sing along and look forward to spending some quality time with my loved ones.
How do you encourage the team to get to know the residents and expand on their relationship-centred care approach?
Our team on the Penny Lane community is excellent and we have built good working relationships with all of our residents and their families. I think this is due to the way we regard them – as individuals. Their wants and aspirations might be different to those of other people, so all of us try to picture ourselves in our residents’ shoes so we can comprehend how they feel and understand the way they might see things.
What skills does it take to be a nurse?
It’s important to be competent as a Nurse and have good clinical skills and knowledge but other attributes are also very important. For this role, compassion, patience, good communication skills and people skills are a must.
How do you build relationships with the residents and their relatives?
Every relationship is built around trust and support and I enforce this by being an active listener and being honest and approachable. I like to think that my door is always open and if anyone has any questions they can approach me and I will listen and put their mind at ease.
I also build relationships with relatives by involving them in the day to day care of their loved ones wherever possible. For instance, I will invite them to care meetings and write their loved ones care plan with them so that we can make informed choices about their care together and can ensure that we are respecting the individual involved at all times.
What are the highlights of your job?
One of my highlights is taking the time with each of our residents to get to know them by participating in meaningful activities with them and one to one activities which we know engage with their hobbies and interests.
I also enjoy being in a position where I am able to be a role model and mentor. Since 2010, nursing students have become a regular feature of my working life and Penny Lane has become a regular learning placement for the University of South Wales. My responsibility is to liaise with the university tutors and ensure that students are provided with effective mentorship and a successful clinical learning environment. Through this, I’m able to demonstrate my passion to the team and help encourage their commitment and dedication to our residents.
How do you spend your free time?
I particularly enjoy hiking and I have arranged several team building days where team members from the home have undertaken the challenge of walking up Brecon Beacons and climbing Mount Snowdon in Wales. We also slept in Cardiff Castle overnight to raise funds for the homeless a couple of years ago which was great fun but quite spooky! My free time, however, is usually spent with my family, particularly my grandson Harrison and socialising with my friends.
For someone who didn’t receive their nursing degree until they were 40, what advice would you give to someone looking for a career in nursing?
You can do it but the role does have its challenges.
The hardest part is caring for someone at the end of their lives. It can be upsetting having to deliver end of life care to a resident you have formed a bond with, but improving the lives of the people I work with is worth the occasional turmoil.
I am committed to the residents and to our excellent team, who are dedicated to delivering a high quality of care and support to our residents and their families.
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