Tell us about your background and how you ended up in care.
I joined the Care Industry when my children were very young and started doing night shifts as this suited a good work and homelife balance for me at the time. This was in a local Nursing Home where I began my journey in caring for individuals who required a range of care and support needs. I learnt a lot about myself initially, wondering whether I had what it took to make a good carer but am glad I continued to persevere and embrace all the knowledge I gained as this helped give me the skills to grow in my career. From here I moved on to a local Residential Care Home again, doing night shifts and remained there for 13 years, but felt a need to grow further and expand my experiences and knowledge and decided to have a go at working in the community. My children were much older by this time which gave me different options for growth. I wanted to make a bigger difference to people's lives and felt there were many areas that could be improved on. Once I started working in my community, I knew I had found my niche and in a career that spans 30 years, I have never looked back or wanted to do anything else.
What’s your job all about?
My responsibilities as the Registered Manager, includes making sure the individuals we are committed to care for, receive a high standard of care that is always consistent and that they are reassured we are a Company that is honest and transparent and willing to help them live the best life they can and as independently as they can. I also have a responsibility to the team of carers I have employed to motivate, encourage, progress and fulfil their own careers, whilst creating a culture where they feel happy to go to work and belong to a wider family of colleagues who all support one another.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me can start with contacting new recruits and booking interviews, making a home visit, whether to complete their assessment of care needs, or to deal with any worries or concerns they may have, or to observe staff with manual handling queries. I am always organized and can prioritize tasks well throughout the day otherwise it is easy to become overwhelmed, so my ‘to do’ list is always ongoing.
What is the most challenging thing as a Registered Manager?
As a Registered Manager I have always tried to lead by example and have never asked anyone to do anything that I would not do myself. When we have challenging times, of peak sickness or holiday season, then I will work alongside the team to help ease the pressure and become one of them doing the same job. I want the team to feel that I can switch roles when they need me, that I am not afraid to feel the pressures they sometimes face daily, and that I understand and listen to them. After all, how can I expect my team to respect my role if I don’t understand theirs.
What’s it like working at Bramble Home Care?
My colleagues and I have built the Forest of Dean branch from just a vision we had and what we could achieve to a thriving business that is continuing to grow. We had the full support and encouragement from the owners Marcus and Tracy to run with our vision. It was, without question, the hardest and most challenging period in my career, starting a branch with 2 staff and 3 clients during Covid-19, but we had a ‘fire in our belly’ to succeed and we have gone from strength to strength.
I am very proud with becoming the Registered Manager in the Forest of Dean for Bramble Home Care as it was never a role I actually chased, but I have always been totally supported by my Manager and the colleagues I have been blessed to work with all these years, who encouraged and pushed me to go further by believing in me, and helping to put my own self-doubts aside.
If you have ever been lucky enough to work with or for Karen, we'd love it if you could leave a comment below :-)