Malcom X once said “When ‘I’ is replaced with “we”, even illness becomes wellness”. At Barchester Healthcare, we recognise that good team work is key to ensuring the best quality of care for our residents and patients. Communication, support and training are all parts of building a good team.
To help support our nursing teams within our care homes, we have developed the Care Practitioner role. This new role gives our senior carers the opportunity to develop their career through a nurse-mentor training programme, designed to enable them to take on additional duties to support our nurses. The types of duties taught include administering medicines, performing minor clinical procedures such as simple wound dressing, and writing care plans for residents. Having these additional skills enables the whole team to provide an improved level of care to our residents.”
Emma Li, RGN, Head of Unit at Barchester’s Lynde House Care Home in Middlesex, believes it is extremely important to help develop others in the team. “Many people have invested in me over the years. From my initial nurse training in China, to working as a care assistant and completing my access-to-nursing training when I moved to the UK in 2007, the team around me has always been supportive.”
“Since becoming a nurse at Barchester, I have been on many courses to help me develop further. I have worked hard to gain the skills required for my current role, but my progress wouldn’t have been possible without the support and patience of my colleagues. I am really pleased to be able to give others the learning opportunities I have received.”
Emma explains: “I was given the chance to mentor senior carer, Lindsey McIntosh, throughout her Care Practitioner course. Lindsey is young and eager to develop her career, but found it challenging to study while working full time. We worked hard as a team to ensure everything was covered. We started by attending a mandatory training day together and then worked through the core components required within the given training period.
“I would show Lindsey how tasks, such as applying wound dressings, should be completed and then observe her performing tasks over a period of time. The other nurses in the team really helped her too; if there was a task Lindsey needed to learn, they would ensure she could observe and learn.”
Lindsey can only offer praise for her mentor: “Emma won the Barchester Care Awards 2016 ‘Registered Nurse of the Year Award’ in our Division, so I knew I was in good hands. She was great to work with. I wasn’t too sure what to expect on the course, but Emma helped put it all into perspective. I found administering medicines one of the hardest things to learn; it was a real challenge for me as there is a lot to remember. Emma and the other nurses came up with some really creative ways to help me. For example, they saved all the leaflets from the old drugs packets so I could read through them to get a better understanding of the side-effects.”
“Emma was always on hand to help me, even on her days off. She was so supportive; I have grown in confidence and ability in my role because of Emma. I really want to become a nurse in the future. This training has given me a better understanding of what being a nurse involves. It has been hard work but worth every second.”
Emma sees the new Care Practitioner role in a positive light and is pleased at how much the role supports her own: “As nurses, our main aim is to offer the best support to those in our care. I believe care practitioners help nurses achieve that aim. I am satisfied I have given Lindsey the training she needs to perform tasks with the care and thoroughness I would have done myself.
“I am so proud of what Lindsey has achieved, but I have learned from the experience too. It was definitely a two-way process; she asked some challenging questions that even I had to think about! I receive a financial bonus from Barchester for each senior carer I mentor through the care practitioner qualification. But as it has taken the whole team to train, support and develop Lindsey, I will make sure that there is a little something for each person. Everyone will benefit from Lindsey’s success, not least our residents.”