From Carer to Compliance Manager: Kare Plus Jordan’s healthcare journey
Monday, June 6th, 2016 | Blog
“It was my mum that got me into the healthcare industry when she became a nurse. If we could all be like her, we’d all be set”, Jordan began in her usual modest way.
She started her healthcare career at just 17, and in the past 9 years has been a Ward Clerk, Domiciliary Carer, Healthcare Assistant and Compliance Officer – so she has learnt a thing or two about life as a care worker, what makes a good a carer and how the healthcare industry works.
It has become much more for Jordan that just a job or career though. The healthcare industry and ensuring people receive the highest standard of care has become her passion. She is always on the lookout for ways to put a smile on the faces of those in care – and has even been known to dress as an elf on Christmas day and do tea rounds on her mother’s hospital ward.
With this in mind, it was her dream to become a nurse. So when she landed her first job as a receptionist at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital, the plan was to get a grip of the industry. However, she then got talking to one of the matrons who put her forward for the Surgical Assessment Unit’s Ward Clerk.
“It was a lot of work with a high turnover – 20, 30 plus patients a day. It became a 7-days-a-week, 12 hour shift job and I’d be coming in on my days off to finish filing, paperwork and admin to ensure all the patients were correctly treated,” Jordan explained. “I enjoyed all this, but I didn’t feel like I was giving enough to the people; there was no interaction with patients or relatives.”
This is when Jordan looked for a new role involving more contact with the patients and relatives: “I wanted to get to know people, so when a Ward Clerk position became available at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley with more patient time and a lower turnover, I was really happy to have got the position.
“Having more contact makes you feel like you’re delivering a better service and fulfilling your duty of care. For example, there was an amputee on the ward who didn’t recover very well. Her husband would come in everyday and I really got to know them both – so much so, he would come in in the morning saying ‘Morning girls, how’s everything going?’ and bring us cupcakes etc. It felt like the service we’d delivered made their time in hospital much more enjoyable.”
This wasn’t enough for Jordan though and she wanted to pull on a tunic and start caring for people. With little hands-on qualifications, she knew nursing wasn’t an option, but her friend had told her how much she was enjoying working as a domiciliary care and Jordan went to enquire.
“I applied, had my interview, trained, got my uniform and ID badge, did some shadow shifts and fell in love with it. My first call was at 7 in the morning; I would get her out of bed, walk her to bathroom and help her have a wash and get dressed. I’d then help her in to her chair whilst I made her bed, tidy-up her bedroom and empty her commode. After this it would be medication, breakfast and let her little dog out into the garden”, Jordan explained. “It was so personal. It was like looking after a relative really.
“The enjoyment for me in domiciliary care was seeing them in their own homes – like I would want for my own grandparents. Seeing people with their own comforts, TVs and bathrooms reminds you to stay respectful. After all, you’re a guest in their own home. I believe people living in their own home for longer don’t suffer with dementia as much, as they have their own things around them to remind them of their own lives and memories.”
In the end, the constant time restraints and 15 minute calls made Jordan question her ability to fulfil her duty of care as a domiciliary carer: “If a lady is having a bad day it takes longer to care for them, which means you cant get to your next call on time, then the office starts phoning you and you are constantly worrying about the time. As a result, your standard of care changes from good to bad.
“If you are late though, you may leave someone in bed wet and if that was my Nan, I wouldn’t be happy. Thankfully, Kare Plus is trying to rule out 15 minute calls so we constantly deliver a good standard of care.”
This was when Jordan decided to move on to become a healthcare assistant at a local care home. She saw an advert for carers working 3-4 nights per week and jumped at the opportunity to experience a new setting and a new shift pattern. When she started, more than 50% of the residents were completely dependant on the carers, meaning Jordan’s passion for patient contact time was a large part of the job alongside prepping for the home’s essential activities.
“I used to work 8pm until 8am. By the end of my shift, I would usually have washed, dressed and done a tea round for six or seven residents before finalising my handover. Throughout the night there wasn’t always so much care delivered, so we would peel veg for the next day’s dinner, clean and iron clothes etc. Even though it wasn’t patient contact, it still felt like I was fulfilling my duty of care to those who needed it.
“Some evenings they would all be in the conservatory with music playing, a guest singer or just relaxing, and occasionally they would have been out on day trips. It was so nice to see them all together enjoying themselves, unlike domiciliary care when they were so often left on their own”, explained Jordan, clearly reflecting on some fond memories from the care home.
Despite these fond memories, she disliked having “a place of work”: “Every resident in that care home lived there - it was their home. But because you’re there everyday working, you forget this and you leave everyday, shutting the door until the next shift. I think that’s one of the main things that still lets the care industry down, it’s too easy to forget it’s someone’s home and treat it as a place of work.
“This was when I realised I wanted to make a difference to the quality of staff in the healthcare industry. I wanted a career where I could help with the recruitment and maintenance of care staff.”
This is when Jordan came across Kare Plus. The Wolverhampton branch was after a compliance officer, which was exactly what Jordan was looking for and her experience was exactly what Kare Plus Wolverhampton needed. Suffice to say, she got the job.
“I remember the first time I interviewed a potential carer, it was so daunting. I knew what I was looking for – the quality of the person, their attitude and opinions towards care itself and their understanding of their duty of care. It doesn’t matter if you know how to use a hoist, you can teach people this, but you can’t teach people respect, care and love.
“I was looking for those who appreciated the opportunity to look after people. Getting home knowing you helped someone get to bed, they’re fed and they’re watered is an absolutely fantastic feeling.
“I would love the opportunity to do it again tomorrow, but I feel my duty of care is to now ensure Kare Plus only supplies staff of the highest standard.”
Jordan believed this so much, Kare Plus Head Office soon spotted her potential and made her Kare Plus’ first National Compliance Manager, overseeing the entire network’s compliance procedures.
“As National Compliance Manager, I get to help franchisees understand the quality of care we are looking for. Make them realise we have to provide the best quality of care to those who need it. Having someone come back and asking for that member of staff again makes me feeling like I am fulfilling my duty of care. I don’t think I will ever leave the healthcare industry for this reason. It wouldn’t bother me if I had to do it for free – I would volunteer.
“After all, we’re all going to need help and care at some point in our lives, wouldn’t you want to be cared for by someone who cares?”
“There’s a lot of workers out there who truly do care and don’t get appreciated for all that they do. So here at Kare Plus we try to say thank you with bonus packages, hampers, Christmas cards, bottles of wine. Simple tokens of gratitude, but they go a long way.”
Now settled in her career making the healthcare industry one filled with better quality staff, Jordan’s dream of becoming a nurse has taken a back seat, but will always be the reason Kare Plus and the industry is lucky enough to be graced with such a passionate young woman.