Making Connections: Consultus Carers Stay Connected


A couple of months ago the Marketing team were informed of a small group of Consultus carers, who were due to be updating their annual Moving and Positioning refresher course at the Consultus Care Training Centre. We have multiple groups of carers coming into the Consultus Head Office each week to do their refresher, but what's particularly special about this group is the bond they have formed over their time with Consultus, working as live-in carers.
Marketing Assistant, Briony Darnley, sat down with carers Sabine, Janice, Sabina and Jacqueline to find out how their first year working through Consultus has been:

Briony: Welcome back to Head Office! So how did you all meet?
All: It was in our induction training course last year.

Sabine: And then we were all staying in Carer House 2.

Janice: Jacqui and I have been friends for 38 years! We actually nursed together in Durban, South Africa, and even when we weren't nursing together anymore, we used to have an annual get together. So Jacqui and I have always been in touch.

Briony: So did one of you recommend Consultus to the other?
Jacqueline: I came over to the UK from South Africa to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), however after my first placement I felt I wanted a break from nursing and started to look for something new. I was thrilled to hear Janice was coming over to the UK and she was going to stay with me. During this time Janice suggested I should think about becoming a live-in-carer and as luck would have it, I had heard about Consultus Care and Nursing from a friend so we decided to contact them. So that's how we came into caring together.

Janice: Jacqueline and I signed up to attend the induction training course with Consultus and on that day we met two more friends!

Sabine: Sabina, Janice, Jacqui and I have only known each other for a year, but it feels like 38 years!

Briony: We think it's so lovely that you have all decided to come back to do your training together again. How did this come about?
Sabina: We've stayed in touch with each other throughout our first year. We now have a little WhatsApp group, and from the very beginning of working as live-in carers, it was our lifesaver. It's so great to be able to regularly talk to each other.

Sabine/Janice:  It really has helped us throughout the year to be in regular contact, so when the opportunity came up to meet again we jumped at the chance!

Briony: What does it mean to you to have a friendship group all in the same profession?
Jacqueline: It's wonderful!

Sabine: Invaluable.

Janice: Absolutely brilliant.

Sabine: I didn't have as much caring experience as the other ladies and with no family or friends in the UK, naturally I was a little nervous. Having this little support group to bounce things off, makes me feel more confident during my bookings.

Jacqueline: Because we're over from South Africa, and we had Sabina who is from here [UK], she balanced us out a bit.

Sabina: And also, I think from a professional point of view, because Sabine and I felt we didn't have as much caring experience as Jacqueline and Janice who have nursing backgrounds, they helped us understand that caring really is about having empathy, kindness and respect so we gelled as a group. Because it was just the four of us who did the induction training that week, we just ended up forming such a friendship. It was just brilliant from day one.

Jacqueline: It's a little different for me as I have my own family and house here. As I don't stay in the Carer House in between bookings, I go home. It makes it a bit more difficult for me to come and meet up with the girls, so we all wanted to get together for our annual training. We knew it was coming up and we thought we'd all try to do it together.

Sabine: It's hard to coordinate the same day off for all four of us.

Janice: How long ago did we plan this?

Jacqueline: It was the beginning of the year.

"Advice for anybody wanting to become a live-in carer, let them know their work/life balance will be so rewarding." - Sabina

Briony: What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking about becoming a live-in carer?
Janice: It's the best thing ever.

Jacqueline: It was the best decision I've ever made.

Sabina: I have to say, it's been completely life-changing for me as well.

Sabine: It is natural to feel a little apprehensive and lonely in the beginning, but I think to have a little support group like we have means everything.

Janice: It's the little things about having a group,  Sabine went to a job with an aga, which she’d never used before. I had already been to that client, so I could help her with using it, quickly over WhatsApp.

Jacqueline: It's a lovely back-up to have our group.

Sabine: Even though we have handovers, you can still go into a booking  and find yourself in a situation that you might not have had before, so we've been able to bounce things off each other, which has been fantastic. I think it's important to have friends and connections – it has made a big difference.

Sabina: And it's important to have a sense of humour. My goodness me, we've had some jokes on our group, haven't we?! There's been many times we've experienced challenging situations and ended up making each other laugh. Because it's a private little WhatsApp group, it all stays between us.

Jacqueline: There's no secrets between the four of us!

Briony: Do any of you have any further training planned?
Jacqueline: I have just completed my BTEC Dementia and after I do Moving and Positioning, I'm embarking on the NVQ3 Adult Care and Social Welfare course.

Janice: And I've done the Dementia course.

Sabina: Are you quite pleased with the Dementia course?

Janice: Oh I loved it!

Sabina: And you'd really love to go and look after people with Dementia?

Janice: Oh yes!

Jacqueline: My mother has dementia so for me it's incredibly useful to know.

Briony: It must mean so much to you all to have each other and know what you're all going through.
Sabina: We've done this journey together, which is so nice.

Janice: We were just saying how far we've all come in this one year. I mean, Jacqui now has a home here, she's got a car, and she’s done so much in that year. I've travelled, Sabina has travelled, and it’s amazing what we've been able to do in a relatively short period of time.

Sabina: And advice for anybody wanting to become a live-in carer, let them know their work/life balance will be so rewarding. To do what we're doing and then have that time off, it's wonderful.

Sabine: And not just our colleagues, but the clients we meet along the way as well, they really are so interesting. It's great to hear people's life stories and get to know this family for two weeks, you learn something new from every placement. You really grow as a person, just from the people that you meet.

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