Meet Sophia Wood, one of our Healthcare Assistants (HCAs). Sophia’s been with us at Oakdale since March 2020, joining the team to work night shifts, which she loves. Sophia worked in insurance before and was brand new to care when she started. She says:
“I’d been in my previous job for 13 years, and when my youngest started school I thought ‘Ok, what do I want to do?’ My husband suggested I’d suit a role in care, so I took a leap of faith and changed career – two years later that time has flown by and I love it!”
Sophia tells us that being an HCA feels worthwhile and she’s able to make a difference every day. It’s clear that her role in the home really means something to her and she gets as much out of it as she puts in. Starting in March 2020 meant she had a couple of weeks to learn the ropes before the pandemic struck. Sophia understands how hard it’s been for residents, their families, and her colleagues, but says Covid doesn’t make care as daunting as some people may think.
“It’s exactly the same job, just with a mask or gloves and apron on. Otherwise, you’re doing exactly the same role and looking after our residents just as you would normally.”
Sophia says that it has actually made her role feel even more vital, being able to support the home’s residents when their families couldn’t visit due to covid restrictions. Thankfully things are improving but Sophia’s still aware of how important it is to protect everyone living at Oakdale, and so the staff still wear PPE and test regularly.
On nights, no one has to be in bed by a certain time, and some residents enjoy sitting up late and chatting whilst the home is quiet, so Sophia says it’s all about making sure they are comfortable. She enjoys hearing all about the residents’ days, which is also a good way of finding out the things they’d like to do – she’s often able to pass ideas onto the Wellbeing team for activities to try out. She also enjoys working on different floors on different shifts, and gets to spend time with the residents in each part of the home. In the mornings, it’s all about helping residents get up and ready for the day, but most importantly making sure the kettle’s on so they can start their day with a cuppa!
Thinking about the home’s residents, there’s one who always has an extra big smile when she sees Sophia. As she explains,
“This particular resident can feel anxious when things aren’t quite as she likes them in her room, and when I’m working, her face lights up and she tells me she can relax and sleep soundly as she knows I’ll keep everything just how she likes it. I look after her just as I would any other resident, but it’s lovely to know I can make such a difference for her, and that she feels calm and comfortable.”
One of the big benefits of working for Encore has been the support Sophia’s had to get her NVQ level 2 in Adult Care, which she started a few months after joining the company. She’s nearly completed the course now, and has found being able to take the course at her own pace, fitting it in around work and family life, really beneficial. The NVQ was offered through the apprenticeship scheme, and has really boosted Sophia’s confidence after moving into a new career.
Fitting her work (and study!) around her young family is really important to Sophia, and she’s chosen to work two shifts per week. There’s the option through the Care Club scheme to pick up extra shifts if she wants them, and she’s been able to fix the days she works to help her and her husband plan their working weeks whilst also making time for the children.
Finally, Sophia was worried that having been in her last job for so long, she didn’t think she’d find the sort of friendships she had before in a new workplace, but within a few shifts she’d really bonded with the team. Sophia says:
“Everyone was so welcoming, helpful, and made me feel completely at home. We’re a mixed group, with people of different ages, some with children, some not, but everyone gets on brilliantly, which makes such a difference. We’re a really strong team, and some of us have been here since the day the home opened!”
Visit our Careers pages to find out more about the Healthcare Assistant roles available.