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Staff: Julie Reyes' story

Julie Reyes, Care Practitioner at Dudwell St Mary

Julie came to the UK from the Philippines in September 2006 to begin working in a Barchester care home. Moving to the UK was something she had wanted to do for a long time and finally, at the age of 50, she had managed it.

In order to make the move she had accepted a job as a carer, despite having worked as a Supervisor Nurse in the Philippines for over 20 years. She admits to having felt demoralised knowing that she wouldn’t be able to use all the skills she had learned throughout her nursing career, but came to the conclusion that ‘caring is caring’ and was glad of the opportunity to move to the UK at a time when she was beginning to worry she was too old to get any work here at all.

Julie’s expertise in nursing and caring meant that from the start she was a huge help to other staff members at Dudwell St Mary Care Home. Everyone knows that she had been a nurse for many years and for the new nurses in particular, she has been a great support to have around.

When Barchester introduced the Care Practitioner role, it seemed obvious to the home’s manager that Julie should be put onto the training programme so that she could take on this new role and offer the nurses even more help.

Yet for Julie, who is now 60 years old, the decision wasn’t so straight forward.

“I didn’t want to do it at first. I had just lost interest.

“But I saw how I can help the nurses I work with. I also saw that the scope of the Care Practitioners and the nurses is not too different. My manager was very encouraging and said it’s an opportunity and I have a background in nursing.”

Julie is glad that she took this step and says she ‘feels like a nurse now’. It has returned some of her enthusiasm and given her confidence in her ability to continue learning.

She said: “I had lost interest in nursing but now I’m coming back to it. I’m taking everything step by step as there is a lot to learn and a lot to adapt to.

“The Care Practitioner course has helped. I started the Care Practitioner course in 2014 and I’m about to finish. A lot of it I already know but the documentation is new for me. Like the care plans, legality etc. I’m used to doing it now. Techniques are changing so the training is also bringing me up to date.”

While she is still yet to do her mentoring and coaching module, it’s clear that she is already a role model for younger staff members and she has a clear message for them: “I would say to younger colleagues – don’t just stay on this level. If there are steps to take to progress, do it. Grab the opportunities.”