Diary: a care worker in a nursing home writes


I work a split shift from 7.30am to 1pm and 5pm to 9pm. By the time I leave work at 1pm, have a cup of tea and a rest, there isn’t much time to do anything else – it’s like one long shift. Management are unhappy with the results of a recent inspection. The staff received good marks and a warning about working too many hours. But procedures in the home were slammed – such as lack of nutritional planning.


Went into work at midday to work through to 9pm. Most of the day I was distracted by thinking about a job offer that I have had from a nearby home. There is a bit more money but the main thing is the work doesn’t involve any lifting or carrying residents. The managers at the home seem friendly, are keen for me to start as soon as possible and have offered me some time shadowing a shift.


I have the day off, so visit the new home in the morning. First thing the manager does is to run through the fire drill. The rest of the morning comprises cleaning bathrooms, serving the residents tea and coffee, a cigarette break outside with the staff and a look at the care and medication plans. All seem to be straightforward and well organised. The manager meets me afterwards at 2pm and says he will put the job offer in the post. Meet up with some friends in the evening who congratulate me and offer a variety of contradictory employment advice.


In the morning I phoned my potential employer about written confirmation – assures me it’s in the post. Went to work in the afternoon. Main topic of staff conversation is a day trip to a local tea house by a few of the residents. Apparently, the milk was off, tea lukewarm, cakes stale. While the tea house staff were apologetic and changed the drink and food, the constant complaining, albeit gentle, wore the staff and residents down and ruined the day – one of the few the residents have out. What’s worse, on returning the manager had a go at the staff over the bill – staff are supposed to pay for themselves.


Attended a manual handling course at work in the morning and then handed in my notice. The manager spoke to me about what a good worker I was, how they didn’t want to lose me and offered me everything I had asked for in terms of shifts and hours. I am now in a quandry as they are offering me more money and less lifting.

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