With two children to look after, what job could offer me a career and flexible working?

Care Assistant

Extract From Talking Care Magazine

Case Study 1: Care Assistant, Fiona Mayfield
Larkrise Care Centre, Banbury
The Orders of St John, Care Trust (OSJCT)

Fiona always thought catering would be her career, so on leaving school she qualified as a cook. Initially she found work in a local nursing home preparing and making meals and using her experience, Fiona changed jobs, becoming a Kitchen Supervisor in a school before leaving to have a baby.

With two children to look after, what job could offer me a career and flexible working?
Now with two children to look after, Fiona needed work that was both flexible and local. Her partner worked shifts, so Fiona asked herself, ‘what job could offer me a career and flexible working?’ She thought about the local businesses close to where she lived and decided to apply to OSJCT Larkrise Care Centre for part-time work as a Care Assistant.

“When I first started my new job as a Care Assistant, I was terrified! My mum was a home carer for Oxfordshire County Council, but her career never really registered with me. What really had a big influence on me – causing me to change profession – was sorting out carers for my Nan, who is 75!
I think it was this real life action that gave me an insight into care work.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I was up to the job. There was lots of back to basics learning, colleague shadowing, training in manual handling, observation, and E-Learning with questions based around the job. But it was great! I was completely entranced and enjoying every minute”.

Home Manager Lyndsay Sard comments: “Fiona’s mentor hadn’t seen anyone like Fiona. She has a deep rooted passion to care for other people and has shown huge dedication and commitment in regard to all her training requirements”.

My role is to support and care for our residents.
“Coming on shift in the afternoon – saying hello to residents in the dining room, seeing all those smiling faces is amazing! They’re my second family. Then off to sort people out…personal care where needed, any bed changes or laundry, help someone to write a letter, all kinds of everything really. I work to the residents’ needs – everyday I’m here for them!”

Lyndsay comments: “Fiona makes each day happy for our residents; she comes in happy and always has a smile on her face. She is a pleasure to work with and has taken to working in care so naturally, and with ease and professionalism. She is now commencing her Diploma Level 2 in Health and Social Care with plans to progress to Level 3 soon after”.

Fiona is a member of OSJCT’s Care to Talk team and the Dementia Lead Team and actively participates in improving the home’s culture of excellent care, and aspiration to be an employer of choice. Colleagues have nominated her as ‘employee of the month award’ due to her caring and compassionate nature.

Fiona says, “It’s definitely a Yes! To staying in the care sector – feeling this good about work every day is something valuable, how many people can say they have that! I would encourage people to come and work in the care sector, not only is the work varied, the people are all different – every day is different! The clients are lovely, management and colleagues are incredibly supportive and fun to work with – it’s work that is diverse and very rewarding. I learn something every day and I can progress in my career!”

“It can be a challenging job at times, you do come to know the people you care for really well, losing a resident is always very sad. Showing our feelings – shows much we care. The training provided really helps you and everyone on the staff team supports each other. I would never like to become hardened to it – I wouldn’t be human then would I! Going home after a shift does give you time to switch off, you pick up your own life and family demands and focus on their needs”.

Our Care Home Manager, Lyndsay is there to support us in all we do! She is very approachable. You come to understand that in your small way you are making a BIG difference to people’s lives! Tomorrow is another day bringing with it new experiences – no day as a care assistant is ever the same and that’s why I love it!

“My Mum, bless her, is totally baffled – never in a million years would she have expected me to go into care work. She’s very proud of me and I’m proud of her too!”