Pauline Nicolson (pictured left) is a Resident Support Worker at Willowbrook in Coventry. She's worked for ExtraCare since 1989. Here, she tells us what her job is like…
I do three shifts a week, two mornings and one afternoon.
We always start with handover from a team leader, where we find out what's gone on over the previous days. After that, I get started with my real job: caring for our residents!
I give out medication, do meals, help with washing, dressing and toileting, wash dishes, make sure flats are clean and tidy, make beds, do laundry, a bit of everything. My job has got much bigger over the years. I'm not just a carer: I'm a counsellor, a social worker, and even a dog walker!
You have to be flexible. I can't say "Oh, I'll be there at half-past two," because for all I know someone will have fallen or there'll be something else I need to do then.
I'm the key worker for three residents at Willowbrook. That means I keep their care plans and other paperwork up-to-date and just generally spend time with them. I'm very close with them, and I've even taken one on holiday!
I work when I'm not at Willowbrook too. I've been fundraising through Waitrose in Kenilworth towards plants for our gardens lately, and I also buy flowers for reception every week.
We're a very close-knit staff here. If we see someone struggling, we help them - we're a real team. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses so we work together to make the best of them. Some of the younger ones are good with computers so sometimes they'll do more of my paperwork and I'll do more care for them.
Paperwork is the only downside of my job. We have to document everything, even small things like opening windows and making tea, and it takes up a big chunk of my time.
My favourite part of the job is the day-to-day hands-on care. I want to make sure our residents are well cared for, just like every other RSW does.
"Pauline makes me content. She does such a lot for me and I know she loves me like I'm her family." Joy Cole, 90