My first role I worked in in retail, I worked in there quite a lot. I worked behind the bar, I had numerous roles actually and I was a mother and with four children. I was one parent so money was quite tight at that point, my youngest daughter turned 16 and I decided that I would like to do something in the care sector. When I was younger I'd always wanted to be a nurse, but I got pregnant at 16 and unfortunately it didn't follow that path. So, like I said when my youngest daughter was 16, I thought oh I'll go and see about getting into care and what happened Abby Meadow was actually just built, and they were looking for people to do care and so I went on down for an interview, which was quite hard because I hadn't had an interview for years, I felt a bit intimidated really.
But it went really well and I got offered a job there, and the manager of the the home enticed me, if you do nights you only have to work six months out of the year but unfortunately nights are really, really hard so I found that quite difficult at that point. But I started and I really, really enjoyed it. I think from gathering from what my fellow staff members were, they all said that I was quite natural at it but I had brought four children so I think only common sense with things as well was a big thing.
So, I started nights and I did nights for 12 months, and they asked me to go to do days which I did and that's what I started with with Dave and that's basically it really.
I started as a HCA and there were rumours going around that they were struggling for nurses to work in the care sector and the manager Barbara had come up with an idea of assistant practitioners and this was a new course, and a new role within the care home that I work and not for a million years did I think I would get on the course. I did apply and I did get on the course and which was really really surprising because I'm a mature student, I was in my 50s,I was 54 and I didn't think anybody would want to take on a 54 year old student.
So, when I did start the course it was very difficult at first because I was totally computer illiterate, I hadn't studied for a long time, it was really really hard but I really enjoyed the studying and I enjoyed what I was doing. It was really quite fulfilling, I didn't for one second think that I would upgrade in what I was doing, not at all. I thought you know I was a HCA and that's how it would be.
It was because of this scheme that Barbara did put forward, I ended up getting on the course and I was really grateful and never for one minute thought you know person of my age that I would get the chance to do that, I was really lucky to have a chance to do that and I do thank the company for that.
The training that I did for my assistant practitioner course was three years long, and it was three hard years because we didn't really get any study time, or anything we worked within the company. I was like I'm going to show you, I'm good you know I can do this you know and I sort of wanted to learn everything; I followed the senior nurses round, I watched, I listened and learned. I watched how they spoke to doctors, how they handled telephone calls and over that course that was after I finished the course, over the years it was two years later I was offered a senior role which in the nursing side of things was very rare.
Although, I have a senior nurse as well, I have a senior role as a senior assistant practitioner so I was one of the first ones to to be a senior in a nursing environment and that took about two years. But I really wanted this to work,I felt grateful that I'd been given this opportunity and I wanted to show them that it works well and that's basically where I'm at now. I'm still a senior and I'm enjoying it.
Within this company that I work for the opportunities are brilliant.You've got to want to do this job to be fair, you've got to have a caring nature, you've got to care for people. But within this sector there is lots of opportunities, it's not just for caring for people as a HCA, you know there's different ladders you can go, there's a nursing associate, there's APs, there's the nursing getting a career from that, but it's not just that, you could be a social worker, there's loads of different areas to branch out to, perhaps not a GP but you could branch out to loads of different areas you know even even if you're interested in physio, I know within there's lots of APs that still do that.
You just have to do a little bit more training but I feel that there's loads of opportunities, but one thing that I feel is that you have to be a caring person, you have to want to do this kind of job and it isn't for everybody but I will tell you one thing, it's very rewarding and you're willing to work hard, learn then you'd be brilliant and I would tell everybody to do that. I would not look back now, I wish I'd done this years ago, I wish I'd gone the whole hog and done the full thing. I wish I was the manager now.