Nurse Bethan Prothero chose to pursue a career in the social care sector over hospital nursing. She was keen to put her clinical skills to good use but to also work one-to-one with patients seeing the positive impact of her work first-hand. As part of the clinical team at Lewis Martin Court, Bethan says she gets great satisfaction by nursing disabled adults with complex needs and building strong bonds with them and their families.
Hi Bethan, when did you decide that you wanted to work in the care sector instead of hospitals?
I never really fancied working in hospitals, it wasn’t for me. You don’t get time with the patients, it’s very much about bed management and getting people out of the ward. I like the continuity and the more meaningful relationships you build by working with residents in a care home.
What was your first nursing job?
I was working in a care home in Caerphilly, looking after young adults with physical disabilities. It was hard adjusting to the role because when you are a student nurse, you’ve always got a mentor to fall back on. So, it took some adjusting to think, ‘Right, I’ve got my pin, and now I’m accountable, and I’m in charge of making sure everything is done properly!’ But I soon got into it.
What did you like about the job?
I loved the residents and getting to know them. It was also a very clinical role, and I like learning new skills. There is a misconception that nurses lose their skills when they work in care homes, but I’ve not. These are very clinical places to work and they continue to stretch you so you’re always developing professionally.
When did you join the team at Lewis Martin Court?
My sister is in recruitment, she heard about the job and recommended that I apply. I’d just come off maternity leave, and I was looking for a role that would suit my schedule as a new mum too. I needed flexible working and to work somewhere that really understood what I wanted from a career. Joining the clinical team here was a great fit for me.
What are your favourite things about the job?
The residents here are fantastic. They are younger than I’d worked with previously as the age group is 18 – 34. We’ve got residents with quite complex needs here, so they’ve been interesting to work with. I really enjoy the interaction I have with the residents and how much they like to have a joke with you. You build trust between them and now I’ve become part of their lives. Knowing that people depend on you is a big responsibility but it’s hugely satisfying and I finish each day knowing that I’ve really made a positive difference to people and their quality of life.
What’s the dynamic like between members of the clinical team?
We all get along great and work together. I like that we are all quite open and honest with things and you can always talk over issues and challenges. All the nurses here are really good and it makes such a difference to have that trust. We all look out for each other. So, if you are in the middle of something and you need another nurse to take on another job for you, you can fully trust them to do things the right way and never cut corners. That’s so important.
What would you say to nurses who are considering the care sector?
Nursing in the care sector is a very rewarding and varied role. It’s different to hospital work – but in a good way. In Lewis Martin Court, you don’t know what’ll happen from one day to the next. But whatever happens you’re always working closely with residents and you’re continuing to build relationships with them – these relationships are not superficial, they have real meaning. In my role, I get to work with residents living with different complex needs, which is challenging and exciting. You’ll have the chance to use your clinical skills and develop new ones. I feel like I’m part of a family here, and it’s lovely to see I’m making a difference to our residents’ lives.