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"Working here has opened up doors I never thought possible."
Paula is the Registered Manager of our Eagle Wood care centre in Peterborough, a city she knows well after spending many years working as an RAF nurse at the city hospital.
While it’s where she served much of her career with the Royal Air Force, she also had a three year posting in Cyprus and served in areas of conflict – twice in Iraq and in Afghanistan as part of the Aeromedical Evacuation Team.
She came to PJ Care in 2019 as manager of our dementia unit, Cedar, and now has responsibility for more than 300 staff and 105 residents.
“It was very daunting at first due to having no experience of social care and as a result the learning curve was huge,” she remembers.
“During my first six months I wondered if I’d done the right thing having come from a military/NHS background.
"But I absolutely love my job and I am so grateful to PJ Care for the opportunities it has given me both personally and professionally. Working here has opened up doors I never thought possible.”
Paula was nominated in the ‘Frontline Leader’ category of the Great British Care Awards in 2020 and the ‘Registered Manager’ award in 2021.
Together with her colleague Natalie Maxwell, she received a COVID Hero award, as you can see in the photograph, on behalf of Peterborough from MP Paul Bristow, which will see them visit the House of Lords representing Eagle Wood and PJ Care.
Paula has had numerous opportunities to develop her career. She’s completed the Skills for Care leadership programme and is currently studying for an apprenticeship in Level 5 Leadership and Management.
“The knowledge and skills I’ve gained during my time here has been amazing. I’m now able to share this with my teams and my colleagues to ensure our residents get the best care possible.”
Professional and personal support
But it’s not just the professional element of working at PJ Care that Paula appreciates.
“The personal/family element it offers is without doubt the standout for me. Not only has Neil and the Board supported me professionally and trusted me to do the job they employed me to do, they have gone beyond anything I ever expected on a personal level.
“I lost my dad in August 2020 – not only during a global pandemic but not long after I’d become the Registered Manager.
“The level of support I received was determined by what I needed in my role but was also extended to myself and my family in ways I will never forget.”
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