‘I started my career as a newly-qualified nurse – now I manage an Outstanding care home’

14 October 2020

Kim Payne outstanding care home manager, Greenside Court

Nursing homes aren’t always places we associate with career growth.

But for Kim Payne, Home Manager at our Greenside Court home in Rotherham, it’s been a journey that’s seen her rise through the ranks to run one of Exemplar Health Care’s highest-rated homes.

Back in 2006, Kim graduated from the University of Sheffield as a newly-qualified Nurse.

But in stark contrast to today’s sky-high demand for nurses, at the time, her employment prospects seemed bleak.

“There were no jobs in the NHS then,” said Kim Payne, who recalled her class of graduating Nurses “fighting” over positions.

To add to her woes, many Nurses then viewed working in nursing homes as a step down from frontline hospital roles.

“There was always a stigma back then,” Kim added. “I was actually one of those people who thought they’d never work in a nursing home.”

However, a visit to Exemplar Health Care’s Greenside Court, which supports 22 people with neuro-disabilities, mental health conditions, brain injury and stroke, quickly changed her mind.

“I was really wowed with what they do,” she added. So, diploma in hand, Kim began her nursing career at Greenside Court - just minutes away from where she grew up.

Next steps

After a couple of years, Kim got promoted to the role of Unit Manager, leading a team of other Nurses and Support Workers. She then had a daughter in 2009, so didn’t yet feel ready to climb the career ladder further.

For the next 6 years, Kim worked for another private sector provider as a Nurse Specialist, getting promoted there to Professional Development Manager, overseeing all of the northern UK.

“There was lots of travelling, and too much time away from home,” Kim recalled. She felt the call back to Greenside Court – with its engaging residents and many long-time care colleagues.

Finally, in 2017, Kim re-joined Exemplar Health Care – this time as the newly-promoted Home Manager of Greenside Court.

This time, while the home was still as she remembered it, Kim had a new mission: to personally make sure that the home could reach the CQC’s much-wanted rating of Outstanding.

Reaching the rating seemed like a tough task. The CQC, a public body of the UK Department of Health and Social Care, awards ratings on a four-point scale: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, or Inadequate. Few care homes ever make the top rating.

Seeing potential

“We always saw the potential there,” said Kim, referring to her 80-strong team of Nurses, Support Workers, and other colleagues.

“I knew that Greenside Court was an outstanding home, but I needed to be able to show that to others, especially the CQC,” Kim added.

One hurdle was effectively communicating to the regulator all of the positive outcomes that Greenside Court had achieved – that its residents were receiving excellent support and achieving their goals.

Then, in February 2020, several weeks after its inspection, the news came through – for the first time since it opened in 2003, Greenside Court was now rated ‘Outstanding.’ 

A celebration: The team at Greenside Court celebrate the home being rated Outstanding by the CQC in Feburary 2020. Kim is seen fourth from left. 

“Because of how good the team are, getting the news wasn’t a massive shock,” said Kim. She says her success of achieving the top rating partly boils down to two things: building her team up around her, and making sure the home is a warm, welcoming place to be.

“When you walk into the home, it feels homely,” she added. “It’s a nice place to be. And the team just love being themselves, in a relaxed environment.”

“It tells you a lot when a home’s got colleagues that still work there, 17 years later.”

Moving up the ladder

Months before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic took hold, one factor that impressed inspectors was the happy mark that Teddy the cockapoo, Kim’s dog and Greenside Court’s de-facto therapy animal, seen to the right in the photo above, had made on service users. Several residents told inspectors how they enjoyed having the dog around.

As Kim’s risen through the ranks, she’s made sure to bring up other people with her. This includes Kim’s deputy, Jayne Fleming. After seeing potential in Jayne, Kim supported her to grow from being a Nurse, then to a Unit Manager, and then into a Clinical Nurse Manager. She’s also supported other colleagues who’ve started their careers at the home from scratch.

“Exemplar Health Care has shown how you can move up the ladder, and that it really is possible to grow,” Kim adds.

A holistic approach to care at Exemplar Health Care

At Exemplar Health Care, our community-based homes and OneCare services provide person-centred care and rehabilitation that focuses on maximising independence, building everyday living skills and empowering people to live as fulfilled lives as possible.

We support people on their journey from being in hospital following a brain injury, to community and independent living, as well as offering longer term support for people living with degenerative or life-limiting illnesses.

Our approach is personalised to the individuals that we support – we work with them, their loved ones and professionals to design a care plan that’s tailored to their needs and goals. We encourage people to continue to do the things that they enjoy, as well as develop new hobbies and access education, employment and volunteering if they wish.

Find an Exemplar Health Care home

Exemplar Health Care has over 30 homes across Yorkshire, the Midlands, North East and North West that provide a welcoming and supportive environment where people can feel at home, continue to do the things that they enjoy, and remain closer to family, friends and loved ones.

Find your local care home here, or make a referral here.

Rewarding careers in social care with Exemplar Health Care

If you or someone you know is interested in working in adult social care, Exemplar Health Care offers a range of rewarding careers. Find out more about your career options and our vacancies here