Stories, news and updates straight from our villages
Meet Kim Ashwin, our brilliant
Head of Care from Richmond Letcombe Regis. Kim recently talked to us about her nursing
career, her thoughts on working as a nurse in the care sector and why you
should consider joining her team!
What’s your career journey been like?
I trained as a Registered
Learning Disability Nurse (RNLD) and I’ve always worked in the NHS. My more
recent role focused on strategic development in the NHS and the long term
What originally made you go into care?
As an RNLD Nurse my core values are
centred around person centred care, it’s what I live and breathe. I had worked
my way up in the NHS and felt that I had achieved everything I wanted to out of
my previous role. I wanted to work somewhere that would give me the opportunity
to really connect with service users whilst still using my clinical skills and
innovation and to be able to see the direct impact I’m making.
Did you have preconceptions about working in the care sector before you started? If yes, what were they and how have they changed?
I think one of the main misconceptions is that you lose your clinical skills. In a care setting you deal with a variety of things from a clinical perspective. Since working in care, there’s been things I’ve never come across before, but you get to go away and research the clinical area and develop your skills – you’re always learning.
There’s a misconception that if you work in care, you’re not a good nurse but in this area you work more as a nurse than a lot of other places, there’s a real holistic element to the role, you’re not just there to administer medication, you’re using your clinical skills as well.
I’ve heard many times before that you work as a nurse in a care setting when you’re at the end of your career and you want to slow down or that you can’t progress your career as there’s nowhere else to go but there’s actually leadership opportunities everywhere. You’re supported to develop your clinical skills and there are different areas you can progress into – there’s so much potential with the right support.
The care sector sometimes gets a bad reputation but it’s really unfair. It’s so diverse and for me, it really fits well with my RNLD background. We keep the person at the heart of everything we do and promote independence and a good quality of life. You have the privilege of getting to know people and to be part of their lives.
I remember when I started
nursing, people would say to me ‘why do you want to be an RNLD nurse’ – it was
like there was a stigma attached to it. It’s the same with the care sector, the
same stigma is attached to it, but it couldn’t be further from what people
think. I don’t know many other areas of nursing where you really get to know
the people you care for and understand their life story but still apply
clinical skills as well. At times nursing can feel like a conveyor belt
service, patients come in and then they’re out the door again. In the care
sector, it’s a real selling point that it’s so focused on person centred
What’s your favourite thing about working in care so far?
I like seeing people flourish and
reaching their full potential and I get to see that in my residents - just
because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t reach your full potential! It’s an
absolute pleasure to come to work, I can really see the difference I’m making –
to know I’m empowering others whether it’s my residents or my staff is a great
feeling. I’m being paid to be here, doing a fulfilling role where I can support
others and make a difference and how amazing is that - there’s not many other
jobs where you can do that! It’s also a real privilege to be there for
someone’s end of life and to support them through that journey. End of life care
is a vulnerable position for our residents to be in, but I get to be there to
make it as good as it possibly can be for them and that’s an honour.
What support do you offer your team and why should people come and work at Richmond Letcombe Regis?
As the Head of Care, I take a mentoring and coaching approach to supporting my team and I’ll really look at enhancing your full potential. You’ll have access to an enhanced training package via LinkedIn with training courses in areas such as quality improvement and research methods.
From a clinical research perspective, I want my nurses to be leading on research pieces and striving to be published in journals or opinion pieces and you’ll have my support to take that on. It’s a fantastic area of nursing to specialise in, based around acute medicine, holistic care, diagnostic overshadowing and health inequality.
Ambition is well recognised here, and you’ll always be supported to learn more about what we’re doing and to drive innovation in the care sector. We want people who will challenge the old ways of doing things and develop new ideas to really improve the quality of life for our residents.
If you’re a driven person, this is definitely the place to be – if you’re a carer that wants to do nurse training or a management NVQ then I’ll be there to support you through that. From a clinical perspective, you’ll be supported in developing your leadership skills and enhancing your clinical skills – we’ll make sure you have room to develop and grow.
We have such a lovely team here and I cannot say that enough. It’s a real community in itself and you really have that team support. If you really like person centred care and hold those values true – this is the place for you.
Has Kim’s story got you thinking about a career in care? To find out more about our available vacancies and to apply visit https://www.richmond-villages.com/careers.