Young carer lands dream job just weeks after heart attack

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A CARER who suffered a heart attack two months ago has recovered to take on a brand new role as an activities coordinator at her local care home.

Samantha Nicol from Broughton in the Scottish Borders was promoted just eight weeks after suffering a minor heart attack, having made a remarkable recovery.

The 28-year-old recently started her new position at Mansfield Care’s Peebles Care Home, where she had worked as a care assistant from January 2020.

This follows another remarkable recovery for Samantha after she suffered a multi-tiered brain injury in a horse riding accident in 2015, which left her having to relearn how to write, walk and talk.

Despite these challenges, Samantha is determined to provide an invaluable service to her residents in her new role coordinating activities and social events for the care home.

Samantha said: “Care has always been an integral part of my life – from the age of 14, I cared for my dad who suffered from advanced bowel cancer.

“More recently I had been working as a care assistant at Peebles Care Home, as well as taking care of my mum over lockdown before she sadly passed away.

“I absolutely love care, and so when I saw the opportunity was there to take on the role of activities coordinator I went for it.

“I have so many ideas for the care home which I’m hoping to implement in the New Year – I’m a big fan of therapy pets as they provide such amazing comfort and reassurance, and I think it’s something our residents would really enjoy.

“I am also keen to bring in professionals in art and pottery to teach our residents different skills, which would be both interactive and help develop cognitive and sensory activity.

“It’s important that our activities are stimulating for our residents, not only does this make it fun it also helps to maintain positive mental health.”

After her first accident in 2015, Samantha has viewed her health as a challenge which she describes as difficult to overcome, but which have been pivotal in her life and career as a carer.

She said: “The horse riding accident was incredibly difficult. I was stood on and dragged for some time – of course it wasn’t the horse’s fault, it was an unfortunate accident.

“I was off work for 14 months. The recovery process was really tough, and as you can imagine it took a lot of time for me to be in a position where I could carry out even basic tasks.

“I recall one moment during my recovery where I staggered out of the shops at around 10am. A woman, who was a complete stranger, turned to me and muttered ‘what a disgrace, drunk at this time in the morning.’

“This really shook me – I was in floods of tears that someone who I have never met could just jump to this conclusion without understanding my situation.

“However, this has really enforced a belief in me to be patient with people and to try and understand the personal situations each resident is in.

“These are qualities which I think are essential to people working in care, in the end I just want to put a smile on the residents’ faces.

“I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and I’m thrilled to have started my new role in shaping our residents’ lives.”

Activities at Mansfield Care Homes are led by residents’ wishes – with every effort made to support individual requests and interests.

The care provider specialises in small, friendly residential care homes in Edinburgh, Borders and west of Scotland; each designed to an exceptional standard with state-of-the-art facilities.

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