Nursing for me is not just a career, it's a passion and a commitment: meet Alison, Head of Care at Cheshire Springs, our new specialist care home in Ellesmere Port
4 March 2022
Alison is the Head of Care at Cheshire Springs care home in Ellesmere Port. In this blog, she shares her career journey and talks about the great opportunities available for Health Care Assistants and Registered Nurses at Exemplar Health Care’s newest home.
For National Careers Week, we spoke to the home’s new Head of Care, Alison, about her experience and what you can expect to see at Cheshire Springs when it opens in a few months.
Can you tell us a little more about your background and how you first started as a Nurse?
I started my career in 1986 as a Domestic Assistant within the NHS, at the age of 16. I’ve always wanted to be a Nurse, however, being a young Mum delayed my career progression for a period of time.
I gained lots of experience in care prior to becoming a Student Nurse. I worked as a Health Care Assistant then Senior Health Care Assistant for many years, and this allowed me to build the foundation skills and knowledge that’s required in nursing.
I was very fortunate to be seconded by the NHS to become a Student Nurse. Once qualified, I went on to work on a neurological ward (stroke) unit. In this role, I was passionate about delivering high quality person-centered care. This job gave me great satisfaction – it was very rewarding to see patients going home following such a life changing event. After that, I went on to gain many years of experience working on medical and surgical units within the NHS.
I left the NHS in 2018 and became the Home Manager of a 93-bed care home in Chester, working with people living with brain injuries. This role helped me to build my management and leadership skills, which allowed me to progress further.
I’ve been a Nurse for many years, and have had my share of disappointments, but it is from my own experience that I’m able to draw the perfect pleasure of nursing. I love offering bedside care and helping others to feel better, and hopefully making a difference in someone's life by always trying to be positive – I always provide care with a smile on my face.
What inspired you to be a Nurse?
I was inspired at a very young age as my grandma was a Nurse. I remember visiting her and wearing her Nurse's hat and cape. She used to tell me about her day and that she cared for many people. It was from then on, I knew I wanted to make a difference in my life.
Nursing for me is not just a career, it's a passion and a commitment.
The fact that we wake up each morning, able to tackle the day's challenges, is nothing short of amazing. Every day I'm thankful not only for my own health, but the health and wellbeing of everyone I love and care for.
What do you think sets Cheshire Springs apart from other care homes?
I think Cheshire Springs is going to be an amazing place to work as our care will focus on rehabilitation and maximising independence, enabling our service users to develop their everyday living skills. We have a real commitment to developing person-centred care plans to help people live a fulfilled life.
The home will also be a purpose built home that will allow a homely and warming atmosphere for all who have the pleasure of becoming part of our family.
What’s your favourite thing about your role?
My favourite thing about being a Nurse is that I'm always remembered by my patients. I have always been able to gain trust and develop a personal connection.
While we often meet under very difficult circumstances, being present as people face serious health challenges or injuries, we get to know our patients very quickly and have the opportunity to play an important role in their lives.
What do you think the residents will value the most about Cheshire Springs?
The health needs of people living within complex care can be challenging, however, with the knowledge and experience of so many staff coming together to ensure safety and wellbeing, it is of the utmost importance that their healthcare needs are treated as high priority.
It’s vital that NHS commissioners and policymakers recognise that input from appropriately trained specialists is key to ensuring a better quality of life.
Fun and laughter along the way is always a good recipe for achievement!
What would you say to others thinking about applying for a role at Cheshire Springs?
For someone considering joining Cheshire Springs, I suggest doing some research into what sort of nursing care Cheshire Springs provides. Nursing is very rewarding and we are very fortunate at Cheshire Springs that we’ll all be training together and we’ll all have the same passion from day one.
I'm a very approachable and understanding person, and have a passion to develop all staff. I would not be where I am today if my previous colleagues did not believe in my abilities. To others I’d say, never give up achieving your goal.
There are lots of career development opportunities at Cheshire Springs. Our Nurses can progress to Unit Manager and even Clinical Nurse Manager, supported by Exemplar Health Care’s CPD certificated training programmes. Our Health Care Assistants can do fully-funded training to become Trainee Nursing Associates, which is an excellent route into nursing.
Along with myself and the rest of the Exemplar Health Care team behind us, together we will achieve.
Care and nursing jobs in Ellesmere Port
We’re currently recruiting an in-house multi-disciplinary team at Cheshire Springs which includes Health Care Assistants, Registered Nurses, Life Skills Facilitators, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists.