Gracewell carer talks about her journey into care work in the midst of COVID

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Rebecca Phipps joined Gracewell of Ascot as carer in July 2020. Stepping up to the challenge of care work was made more difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic – yet, Rebecca has thrived since joining Gracewell of Ascot.

Rebecca Phipps joined Gracewell of Ascot as carer in July 2020.  Stepping up to the challenge of care work was made more difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic – yet, Rebecca has thrived since joining Gracewell of Ascot.

A graphic designer for over 20 years by trade, Rebecca’s journey into care work is far from conventional. With much of her experience coming from the corporate world, her decision to embark into this unknown world of care would have certainly been unexpected to many of her friends and colleagues. But Rebecca has taken it in her stride, embracing, flourishing, and has, “loved working at Gracewell of Ascot”.

After Rebecca was made redundant as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, she was stuck at a crossroads in what way to move forward. However, inspired by her own experiences of the care sector with care workers and volunteers caring for her Grandmother, she was motivated to give it a shot. Driven by the idea of helping others and making a difference in what she does, Rebecca applied to Gracewell of Ascot, not a shoe throw away from her doorstep. After several weeks of interviews and calls, she finally got the offer. It was not long after this point she began to embark upon her journey into care. From informative and well- put together Zoom based inductions, to her eventual shadow shifts, she was on her way.

Rebecca said:

“It felt like I was being dropped from a great height very very fast, but that was more to do with the huge learning curve I was embarking on.”

“The process during the pandemic was, by necessity, extremely fast, but the need for care workers was unparalleled. I had two great mentors on my shadow shifts, and they made the transition that bit easier. The training both online and on the floors is very thorough as it takes you through the care certificate and gives you all the tools you need to be able to do the job.”

Now, almost a year on since starting at Gracewell of Ascot, Rebecca has not looked back. Learning a lot, making some great friends, and having some fantastic experiences, she has thoroughly enjoyed her time so far in the care sector.

Rebecca added:

“The teams I work with are brilliant, they have helped me learn so quickly and are extremely supportive. Transitioning from the corporate road to care has been a completely different way of life, and the change is enormous. But, if I get something wrong, they don’t moan or berate me, they just suggest how it could be done better and show me how to do it.  People are genuinely good and everybody there wants to make people’s lives better, whether that be for the residents or staff. Working in this way helps to build confidence and improve my ability to care.

“I am just about to commence studying for my NVQ3, and also learning to train others in manual handling, as well as undertaking training that allows me to take the residents out in the minibus… there’s no shortage of opportunities and qualifications if you want them.”

Certainly, there has been challenges for Rebecca along the way, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, she notes that the team, and her eagerness to help residents at Gracewell of Ascot during this period, has made the experience to date so much better:

“Working in the pandemic has been tough with all the constant changes and lack of freedom, but I think it has pulled the teams closer together.

“The residents have taken the brunt of it – it’s hard to see how much they miss their families and being able to hug them or even just be with them. But when I am sat on the settee hugging one of the lovely ladies who just needed to feel reassured, I am reminded that there’s not many places where something so lovely is actually part of your job.”

As lockdown eases, Rebecca is looking forward to continuing her work at Gracewell of Ascot and cannot wait to see what it will be like when everyone and their families can return, trips and entertainment can come back, and ultimately, normal life resumes.  

Rebecca concluded with her top tips for working in the care sector, she said:

“Be prepared to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in with anything… act in a pantomime, sing a long sessions, clear up everything and anything, pour someone a whisky in their coffee, put up bunting, guide a horse out of the lift (yes we did do that), put someone’s rollers in, take them out, put them in again because she forgot she’d asked you, take someone to the loo for the twentieth time that day because they’ve forgotten how to, have incredible patience, be understanding, be prepared to stand back and let them try for themselves, laugh, cry, hug, be the best team player you can be… it will really bring out the best in you if you have the capacity for it. oh and … always wear good socks and buy some comfy shoes.”

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Rebecca Phipps joined Gracewell of Ascot as carer in July 2020. Stepping up to the challenge of care work was made more difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic – yet, Rebecca has thrived since joining Gracewell of Ascot.

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