In more recent years, the pathway for Filipino nurses to be registered UK nurses have expanded into the UK’s Nursing Home sector. Amongst the Filipino Community, especially those who are used to conventional nursing roles in the hospital, there are questions about working in the UK’s Nursing Home sector.
We asked two Filipino UK Nurses, both working in the care home sector about common perceptions of working in care homes and asked if they consider them as “truths” or “myths”.
1. There is no work balance in care homes.
Alice: Myth. I don’t think that there is no work life balance working in the care home setting. In my case, our contracted hours in a week is 36 hours. That means, I only work 3 long days in a week which means I have 4 days off that I can spend with my family, do short travels, attend to my side hustle, or just rest at home. Just like the NHS, we also have annual leaves.
C: Myth. One can certainly achieve work life balance in our care home. Our contracted hours is 42 hours/ week but the best thing about working in our care home is we have set shifts for the whole year. I am able to plan my life outside work. Different care homes have varying shifts. Some would have 36-37 hour working shifts, whereas others would have longer shifts (up to 48 hours). But generally, what some would do is to clump all working days together so that nurses and carers would have longer breaks.
2. Care Homes can only offer limited career opportunities.
Alice: Myth. I can say it can be limited if you don’t push yourself to excel. I have been working in the care home for nearly 3 years and I was able to achieve a Clinical lead role. In our company, a nurse can progress to a senior nurse, then to the head of a unit, then to a clinical lead. I was very fortunate that my managers were able to see my abilities and instead of taking the usual path, I was promoted to a Clinical lead nurse position just on my 22nd month. This can be my pathway to being a deputy home manager and finally a home manager in the future. UK is one of the countries who not only provide health care jobs to those based overseas, but this country also opens an array of career progression on a chosen field, especially in healthcare.
C: Regardless of the work place, the only thing that can limit your progression is you. There are many carers and nurses who have progressed from carers to home managers. Some also have decided to move lateral to other sectors such as social care or even NHS. What made them succeed? They have the grit and drive to progress. Seek & you shall find!
3. Workload in the care home can be heavy.
Alice: Truth. This can be true for most nurses working in the care home sector. Most care homes would have 1 nurse : 15-35 patient ratio. Dependent on the care home staff structure, a nurse would usually have senior carers or care practitioners who can work hand in hand with the nurse in caring for the patients. As a nurse in a care home, I am responsible for medication administration, care planning, documentation, and contact to the MDT. Personal care, attending to residents’ hygiene needs, and assisting during meals would fall under the carer’s responsibility. But if the unit is short staffed, you will also be expected to help in attending to the daily care of the residents. Nurses in care homes have a big responsibility in ensuring proper care of the residents/service users. You really need to have good clinical judgment especially when caring for those with special needs. When residents are stable, all we have to do usually is give medications and do the documentation. Sometimes, you can even join them in their activities.
C: Working in care homes can be tough. Nurses have a big task in their hands ensuring that all residents or patients are receiving proper care. Unlike working in hospitals, doctors may not always be present or available in care homes. In our case, we are lucky having in house GPs. Another good thing about working in care homes is that you get to know the residents. You get to know more of their situation thus helping you understand and plan their long-term care.
Work of nurses in care homes can be appealing but at the same time challenging.
The role can be too tough for some, but for someone who wants to be empowered along with good remuneration of opportunities for growth, career in the care home is something to be explored.
Are you looking for career opportunities in the care home sector? Our partner, Fonthill House is currently recruiting for carers and nurses, to be based in their site in St. Albans, Hertfordshire. If interested, please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org