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Interview with our Hammerson House, Wohl Campus, Manager

13th January 2021

Interview with Hazel Joseph

1. How long have you been at Nightingale Hammerson?  Where were you before you joined our team?

This will be a more complicated answer than you will be expecting! I first joined Nightingale Hammerson in 2012 as the Unit Manager on Wohl household, where I was part of the team for two years.  I then moved to, what was then, the old Hammerson House as their Registered Manager, where I spent a very happy 3 years.  When the old Hammerson House was decommissioned, I returned to Nightingale House.   However, shortly afterwards I had to leave due to medical reasons.   Later, I then spent some time with other care providers, including Hallmark Care home and RCH Care Homes.

However, early in 2020, I had the opportunity to apply for the Care Quality Improvement Lead with Nightingale House.  The position was offered to me and I was very happy to accept; I was happy to be returning to Nightingale Hammerson because I knew exactly what I was coming back to.

Less than a year later,  the position of Deputy Director of Care (Registered Manager for Hammerson House) was advertised – I applied and was overjoyed to be offered the role and I am so looking forward to starting on 1st April 2021.

2. From the 1st April, your role will be the Registered Manger for Hammerson House.  Can you tell more about your responsibilities?

Of course.  My current role, as the Care Quality Improvement Lead, will soon come to an end.  The responsibilities of this position will now sit with our Head of Nursing, Clemence Munchingaguyo and shared with the Director of Care, Nuno Lopes.

My new role will be the Deputy Director of Care for Nightingale Hammerson and Registered Manager of Hammerson House.   In Nuno’s absence, such as when he is away on annual leave, I will be the responsible person for the care provision for Nightingale Hammerson, as well as the registered manager with the CQC regulators for Hammerson House.

My role will be to ensure the smooth running of our home; that we are compliant, staff levels are where they need to be and to make sure we follow all CQC rules.   Ultimately, I will be the responsible person at Hammerson House

I will be 60% office based, but 40% of my time is going to be spent with residents and staff on the households. I will always be physically present around the home, talking to, but more importantly, listening to our residents and care teams.  This is a vital aspect of my role, to ensure we are getting everything right.   Being present and approachable is so important for a resident’s peace of mind but this also ensures that, operationally, we are addressing any problems or concerns immediately.   Building relationships, asking how people really are and for staff to know they are supported is something we do really well at Nightingale House and which I will continue at Hammerson House.

3. When you move into Hammerson House, what will be your first three objectives?

  1. I want to make sure our beautiful new home will make residents feel welcome – really welcome.  I want their rooms to feel like home and that they are immediately comfortable in their new surroundings.    Right now, we are recruiting the best care teams to ensure our welcome and care provision is outstanding.  All of our staff will be fully qualified but, in addition, we also train each new member to a level that meets our own values and high standards.   
  2. I will be setting up our open plan office provision and meeting our occupancy level.  We have 116 beds to offer the community and we have a phased approach in which to meet this.   
  3.  Finally, I will continually focus on building relationships with our teams – including our wider community; our residents, their families, volunteers, friends and neighbours nearby.  Hammerson House will be a home for the wider community and will be and place of activity and engagement for both old and young.

4. You have been with Nightingale House for some years.  What experiences and knowledge will you take from there and bring to Hammerson House?

I will take our ethos and values – for sure!  These are very special at Nightingale House and are something that is very important for me to bring to Hammerson House.   I really enjoy our ‘togetherness’ with residents and staff.  The level of activities, things to do and the engagement we have with our residents is unique – we will ensure this is also very much part of Hammerson House.

5. What is the most enjoyable element of your role?

I enjoy my role in every way!  When I am supporting and developing our teams with their careers, this also helps me to develop.   It is one of the most exciting elements of my role; I am always developing and learning.  I love working with my colleagues and Nightingale Hammerson is a very good organisation to be working with.  I can say that because I have worked in other organisations – and I have since returned to Nightingale Hammerson.  Working with other care providers has given me a wider and comparable knowledge; other care providers really focus on their bottom line – you are pushed to ‘fill the beds’ and less on the care that is given.  It is the complete opposite at Nightingale Hammerson – our focus is on providing exceptional care – always looking to do the best we can and always seeking to improve this provision.   There is a great difference between ‘corporate care’ and the care we offer; we are solely focussed on our residents.  Isn’t that how it should be?  My role is to look after our residents and staff and I am thankful there is no pressure on me to perform for shareholders.

6. What is the one aspect you are most excited about when you move to Hammerson House?

Apart from the obvious excitement of coming into our new building – which is SO beautiful and provides the most up to date, modern, future thinking rooms, equipment and facilities.  Who wouldn’t want this opportunity in their career?

However, for me, this is an emotional time.  I decommissioned Hammerson House 4 years ago; I closed the door and oversaw our last resident leave.   I am now going to be part of the team that will be reopening that door again and welcoming our new residents to a home that is simply wonderful.   For me, this is a real honour.   We are moving with the times and it is so exciting – we are the future of care – a new level of care – and I cannot wait to share this with our new residents, their families, our care teams and everyone who is going to become part of our new community.   

Finally, I hope our new home can teach others how to offer outstanding care to older people.   I want everyone to learn how to provide outstanding care.

7. What do you think is going to be the most challenging?

I think mirroring everything we have at Nightingale House, building our relationships, culture and ensuring we meet all standards.  I realise these attributes may take a while to build and I will need a little patience.

8. We are currently recruiting for different roles at Hammerson House, including our care team.  What would you say to anyone who is considering joining our team?

Well – I left and then I came back!   Nightingale Hammerson is a great organisation to work.    We are a family and we have a great team.  We are a happy team of people – we work closely together and support each other.   

Hammerson House is brand new and is state-of-the-art.  I know it will be a joy to work in.  We want new teams members to bring their experiences and to develop their careers with our continual education development programme that meets the need of everyone.   Our new team members will be the future of care and will be an example of what a provider of outstanding care looks like.

Nightingale Hammerson is a very honourable organisation.  They look after the team and we take the team members’ wellbeing seriously.  Our teams’ development and opportunities for education is second-to-none.  There really are a great many opportunities for development.  When I look back from my humble beginnings, I started as a Unit Manager and am now the Deputy Director of Care and Registered Manager of this amazing new home.   In all, I have had four development opportunities/roles at Nightingale Hammerson and that for me is the greatest satisfaction of working here.

9. What are your hopes for you and your role when you arrive at Hammerson House?

I want to stay for a long long time and continue to build Hammerson House.  I want to make it one of the most outstanding homes in our country and to be a beacon to others.

Only then, I can relax!

I want to get this right for years to come and for anyone else to follow.  One day, this will be my legacy.  I will get this right.