Job Title: Regional Clinical Manager, Aged Care Provider of Retirement Villages and Care Homes
Length of time in this role / and length of time overall in aged care: I have been 6 years in this role, have been in aged care on and off since I was 14 (so 32 years) and had an after-school job in a Care Home in UK.
Brief synopsis of your background prior and your qualifications (generally):
I am an RN, trained in the UK as part of the Project2000 group which meant more hands-on training and less in classrooms. Have held a variety of roles, but have always passionate about Aged Care. Worked in the UK for some aged care providers, and on medical wards where the main clientele was elderly. In NZ I worked in Aged Care and Practice Nursing before being offered this role. A lot of on-the-job learning but the background in Aged Care and having run some units helped me immensely. As did some excellent peers and colleagues.
What brought you into the aged care sector?
At 14 I worked after-school in a Nursing Home (as they are called in the UK) and loved getting to know people, become part of their family and help them to move as nicely as possible on to the next life. Making a difference in their lives is the best feeling.
What is the primary focus of your role?
Quality and Risk – keeping quality high and risk low. Advising and troubleshooting. Helping look at issues or working on projects that improve residents’ lives, as well as how our staff operate. Prepping for audits and ensuring we are audit ready the whole time. Looking after the Villages with no care homes and ensuring clinical risk is as low as possible.
How is working in aged care different to similar roles outside the sector?
Aged care nursing is everything! You need to bring your A-Game every day, as you can’t just ‘rely on the doctor down the corridor’. You do it all. It’s more rewarding as you get to know the residents and their families. You get to look after someone (usually) until the end of their days, so you can make sure they are as comfortable and as happy as they can be. You get to know about their lives before they came into your care, and sometimes it’s surprising, or shocking, or funny – but always interesting and worth knowing.
Highlights of my role include:
Helping develop an RN, so that they progress in their career and enjoy aged-care more than they thought they would. Ensuring continuous quality improvements. Having relatives feel happy and confident in our care of their loved one. Having the feeling that you’re getting to know someone and can make a difference.
Where /how do you hope to make the most difference in your role?
I’d hope that people would remember how I’ve made them feel. That I leave them with a smile and a feeling of comfort and kindness. But also hope I have helped staff understand how important they are, and how to grow and develop in their roles.
Any advice you would give people wanting to pursue a career in executive Clinical Quality Management roles?
Don’t expect any day to be the same. Expect to learn every day and in every way. Expect the unexpected - you have to think on your feet. Have a mind-set of Quality and Continuous Improvement, don’t settle for good… strive for THE BEST.
(Image credit: Dominik, Unsplash)