Work For Us
Hard work sees Heather's career take off at PJ Care
It’s almost nine years since Heather Marchant started work with us as a healthcare assistant.
A former dental nurse, she’d been drawn to a career in care because members of her family worked in healthcare. Her nan was also living with vascular dementia.
With no formal qualifications in care but keen to learn, Heather quickly progressed to become an assistant practitioner, supporting nursing staff with clinical duties, writing care plans for residents and mentoring new staff.
She’s now nearing the end of her five year degree course in mental health nursing, thanks to the apprenticeship programme at PJ Care.
“I really enjoy building relationships with our residents,” Heather says. “I love finding out as much as I can about them so we can ensure a person-centred approach to their care.
“Being a carer is fantastic but I felt there was more I could do, more I could learn, so I took up the opportunity to study for a degree.”
Student and now potential award-winner
Heather has a young family at home so distance learning was ideal for her. After completing a nursing foundation course, she progressed to Anglia Ruskin University to complete a mental health nursing degree apprenticeship.
“I’m very good at asking to go on courses and attend events and luckily PJ Care’s training department is happy to help me!” Heather adds.
In fact, she’s been so impressive, she is shortlisted in three categories of the South East Great British Care Awards – ‘Dementia Carer’, ‘Care Home Worker’ and ‘Good Nurse’. She also made it to the finals of the East Midlands heats of the National Apprenticeship Awards in 2020.
“It’s lovely to have this recognition because I genuinely love what I do. It’s so nice to be able to help people, give them support, learn their life history and build a rapport with their families.”
Heather has a particular interest in end of life care for residents.
“There is an art to discussing it sensitively with them and their families. It’s the last time I can provide care for them and making sure it’s exactly what they want is an immense privilege.”
The first of many
Heather is due to qualify in February 2022. From being our first and only apprentice, we now have more than 12% of our workforce enrolled on apprenticeship courses across the business.
“The apprenticeship has given be valuable practical experience through external placements, as well as in my role here at PJ Care,” says Heather. “I’ve passed all of my assessed work to date, so fingers crossed!”
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