It is great when we hear stories of amazing career progression from our dedicated colleagues. A remarkable example of this is Craig Priestley. Craig started in a support role, found his passion for care and through hard work and determination qualified as a Nurse in 2015. Since then Craig hasn’t slowed down! Here is his story:
Can you tell me a bit about your career progression? What led you to become a Nurse working in elderly care?
I started my career with Four Seasons Health Care at the age of 16 (2006) as a Domestic Assistant. I enjoyed the interaction with the residents, so I applied for the Care Assistant role and I was successful! I then progressed to Senior Care Assistant. I decided to take the next step and apply for Nurse training for several reasons; I wanted to make a difference, lead and help improve the quality of care for the elderly.
I qualified with a first class honours degree in Adult Nursing from the University of Salford in 2015. Following my graduation I was honoured to be awarded the Dr Christine Hogg Memorial Award by the university, for service improvement and for advocating patients’ rights and choices.
I returned to Four Season Health Care to undertake my first Staff Nurse position. I came back to implement what I set out to do right from the start - to lead and help improve the quality of care for the elderly.
One of my goals was to get Student Nurses into care homes on placement, this was for many reasons. Firstly there is lot to learn, nursing the elderly requires highly skilled Nurses due to the various complexities in each resident’s clinical and emotional care needs. Secondly there was a need, and there still is, to help change the perception of care home Nurses and the care home environment in general.
After several months of hard work and dedication, the care home I was working in went under an educational audit to become a potential placement for Student Nurses. This opened the door for the creation of a mutually beneficial relationship; our qualified Nurses are now able to share their knowledge and skills with the Nurses of the future, and they were able to learn from each other. Shortly after, I was delighted to be promoted to the position of 'Clinical Lead Nurse'.
Through the implementation of evidence based best practice and the development of valuable professional links with specialists, Cameron House Care Home was able to achieve an impressive Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report, with good ratings noted across all five of the CQC’s domains. It was great to feel a part of a progressive care community.
In January 2018 I started a new role with Four Seasons Health Care as ‘Intermediate Care Support Manager’, a role I look forward to making a difference in. In addition, I serve on the Care Home Nursing Journal (CNJ) editorial board and I am part of the Policy Review Group.
You have been here quite a while, what changes have you seen in your working environment within Four Seasons Health Care?
A recent change I have seen is the implementation of the Nurse Academy, over recent years there has been a much greater focus within the company on nursing education and the training and development of our colleagues. It is really encouraging to see this investment.
Another development, has been the introduction of technology within the care homes across many frameworks to make our jobs easier, such as the Quality of Life system. These programmes allow us to complete our daily routines much quicker, and minimise error, allowing us more time to do what is most important, which is to care and interact with our residents.
How do the company values influence care home life for yourself and your colleagues?
The company values are central to our work, whatever we do, everything we do, is as part of a team who are striving to make a difference.
…I often get asked to provide examples of our values… I find this question difficult to answer, because they are embedded in our day-to-day responsibilities, you do not consciously act out our values they are rooted within you.
Has your role surprised you in any way?
In 2017 I had the opportunity to participate in an International Nurse Recruitment initiative in India with the Head of Nursing. This was very humbling. It gave me life experience, it was really beneficial to be immersed in a different culture, and it made me feel privileged for the things I have in life.
Would you recommend Four Seasons Health Care to a friend?
Working for Four Seasons Health Care as a Nurse allows you to make a difference to those in your care, working autonomously allows you to grow personally and professionally. Working as a Nurse in a care home is a speciality in itself, and will certainly give you the skills and knowledge to care for the most vulnerable. It is so rewarding and a privilege to be part of so many people’s lives.
What makes Four Seasons Health Care stand apart from their competitors?
The use of advanced technology which focuses on improving the quality of care and making our jobs easier.
Do you have any examples of ways that you or your team have helped to improve someone’s life?
And, how has Four Seasons supported you to do that?
Through implementing evidence based best practice myself and the team worked together to improve the lives of those living with diabetes within the care home. We developed professional links with diabetes specialists, and together we looked to implement a new process for monitoring blood glucose levels and blood ketone levels. We also implemented new protocols and streamlined documentation whilst developing strategies to monitor and ensure regular screenings and checks. As a result, we were able to reduced hospital admissions significantly, and help prevent any long term complications including diabetic wounds.
Four Seasons Health Care supported our research by funding the equipment and providing valuable support from the care service team.
As a Nurse, what’s the best thing about your role with Four Seasons?
Being able to lead and shape the care we provide, seeing the difference your changes make to people’s lives gives you a real sense of satisfaction.
What attracted you to apply to Four Seasons Health Care?
What attracted me to come back to Four Seasons after my Nurse training was the opportunity to improve and lead good nursing care, as well as the opportunity to work autonomously which helped to develop my confidence.
Do you have any future career aspirations?
To continue to develop and to make changes for the better.