South coast care home operator Colten Care has seen its latest cohort of care staff pass an in-house training course to take up new clinical roles and responsibilities.
Twelve participants have completed the intensive, two-week programme to become Senior Care Leads (SCLs), a dedicated post sitting between healthcare assistant and nurse.
It means that since Colten launched the role in 2015, more than 150 care staff – some with many years of service – have taken the opportunity to progress their careers with the additional skills learning.
SCLs support Colten’s registered nurses by carrying out many practical elements of care such as aspects of medication administration, wound dressing and writing care plans.
The aim is to free up nurses to take on more supervisory and leadership responsibilities to maintain and enhance an outstanding level of resident care.
Elaine Farrer, Colten’s Operations Director, said: “By creating and investing in the dedicated post of SCL, we are enabling a career pathway for our care assistants while providing reassurance for our nurses that we will always support them and value their professionalism.
“All parts of the care sector nationwide have a challenge to attract and retain high quality nurses.
“At Colten, we have taken a positive approach to this situation that enables both carers and nurses to progress their careers with us.
“We’re absolutely delighted to see our latest cohort of SCLs complete their training and assessments.
“Their input is a vital component of the professional care we deliver every day to underpin our residents’ quality of life.”
Lottie Young, who works at Colten’s new Poole home Bourne View, joined the family-owned company as a healthcare assistant ten years ago and now wants to progress to become a nurse.
She said: “The SCL training was amazing. It has evolved over the past couple of years so there are more shadowing sessions, modules and opportunities for reflective learning as well as the final two-week course.
“It has given me so much more confidence in my job. I love being an SCL and working with the nurses.”
Lottie is considering whether to benefit from further Colten career investment by becoming a trainee Nursing Associate.
This apprenticed route to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council involves two years of university attendance one day a week as part of contracted hours.
Colten’s Nursing Associate programme, begun in March 2019 in association with Solent University, features modules on a range of topics and hands-on experience through clinical placements in care homes and acute NHS hospital settings.
If she takes the Nursing Associate route, Lottie will become one of several Colten trainees who were previously promoted from carer to SCL as part of internal career progression, with Nursing Associate the next step to take.
All 21 Colten Care homes in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex are registered for nursing and benefit from the input of SCLs.
Six of them, including two dedicated dementia homes, are officially rated Outstanding by care sector regulator the Care Quality Commission.