In 1996, Andrea Booth began her career at Gibraltar Nursing Home as a Care Assistant, drawn to the sector by a genuine love for helping others. Despite common perceptions that social care is a career with limited opportunities, Andrea’s progression journey over the last 28 years has been nothing short of inspiring, proving those misconceptions very wrong.

Today Andrea is a Registered Nurse and with her daughter Ellie following in her footsteps, Andrea’s story continues to strongly influence and inspire our next generation of nurses.

 

Andrea’s Journey

“I started at Gibraltar Nursing Home in September 1996 as a Care Assistant, supposedly for 6-9 months before going to start my mental health nurse training.  At that time nursing was starting to change and I could see the nurses spending less time caring and interacting with the residents, and more and more time with paperwork, so I decided to continue as a carer simply because I went in to this sector because I love caring, I didn’t want to have a job where I was pulled away from this.”

 

Andrea’s Career Progression

“It’s actually easier to say what role I haven’t done as I have done every role in the building!  I started as a carer and early on progressed to senior carer. When I had my first child I reduced my hours slightly (I stopped working a week before my due date as the matron threatened to call my mother if I came to work on the Monday!) and then returned when she was 10 weeks old.

Then, whilst pregnant with my second child I worked in the office as the owners were worried the amount of work and rushing about I did would cause me to give birth and she didn’t fancy playing midwife!!  Again, I worked until a week before my due date by which time I was kept in the office.

Shortly after returning from maternity leave I got introduced and re-interviewed by the new owners, Evolve Care Group and they persuaded me to work full time as the Administrator.  I really enjoyed this role and being the proactive person that I am dabbled in covering shifts home coordinator, cleaning, carer, cooking, management roles, and I am lethal with a set of tools on maintenance!  The opportunities that I was entrusted with grew my skill set 10-fold.”

 

Andrea the Registered Nurse

“Being an Administrator and in management for 10 years was such great opportunities but I really missed the interaction with our residents, who we call family members, and more often than not would be found upstairs with them rather than in my office!  At 10 years old my son spent 11 weeks in traction in hospital with a broken leg and after witnessing the nurse/patient care, I felt inspired to believe I could contribute to better care, they did a great job but the empathy part for me and my experience was not there, so with the support of my husband I finally applied to Cardiff University to become a Registered General Nurse.”

 

The Return to Gibraltar Nursing Home

“Throughout my nurse training I remained at Gibraltar Nursing Home on the bank and even after I qualified I still did bank shifts, but my job after qualifying was cardiac and general intensive care at The Heath Hospitals in Cardiff, both jobs were different in so many ways but both equally my passion.

During Covid-19, the service relocated away from Cardiff and I was beginning to miss Gibraltar as I couldn’t continue my bank shifts there out of fear I that I could bring Covid into the home.   Also I missed the continuity and building relationships with people, which you get when caring for people long term, the majority of people I looked after in intensive care was about 3 days.  So I made the decision to return to Gibraltar full time just as Covid hit the home, I knew I had made the right decision, it felt good to be able to help and bring information and skills that I had learnt in intensive care in to social care, who I felt had been abandoned by other health professionals with much less resources and technology than we had in intensive care.

When I returned to Gibraltar after working in intensive care, it wasn’t just about coming back to something familiar, it was about the relationships I had built and connections with our family members that you don’t get to create when working in the hospitals. While intensive care was fulfilling I only got to spend a short time with each patient. “

 

Our Nurses of Tomorrow

My first child Ellie (who my matron was petrified of being born while I was on shift!) almost grew up in Gibraltar in her younger years and then went on to apply to become a carer during the Covid pandemic at the home, a job I never thought she could do let alone love as much as me, and has now proudly progressed on to a House Leader role.

Ellie’s experience “I was working in hospitality but got laid off so thought I’d go in to care for a few months, even though I grew up in the home and Mum has always worked in care, I had my friends in my head saying it’s not the best job, you just make tea all day and wipe bottoms.”  How really really wrong they were.  I love what I do, you can’t describe the feeling you get when you bond with family members and the other team members, especially those that don’t have any family of their own, I know everyone says this but it really is a rewarding job.  I’ve now been at Gibraltar for 4 years and have progressed on to be a House Lead, my next pathway leads me to Care Practitioner then nursing!”

“As a Mum, you always want to protect your child from the world’s challenges, but I’m so proud that Ellie chose a career in care and it gives me peace of mind knowing she’s working at Gibraltar Nursing Home, a place I obviously trust.”

You can image what a proud Mum I am, to think that Ellie could be among our nurses of tomorrow, carrying forward the compassion that defines this profession.”

 

Advise for anyone that is thinking of working in care?

“Don’t over think how care is, don’t listen to all the negatives about working in care, I love what I do and I’m excited that I now know I have a career path that I never thought I would ever had when I worked in hospitality.”

 

Thank You

Social care needs individuals like Andrea and Ellie; we thank them not just during International Nurses Week, but every single day for such passion, compassionate dedication and the profound impact they have on the lives they touch.

For information of joining our care team please email joinus@evolvecaregroup.com.