Carers Week Special - "Helping Others Makes Me Feel Good"
Norwich healthcare assistant Tom Kinnear Swift joined Newcross in April 2016, as an active member of our team we caught up with Tom to find out what motivates him and discover his journey with Newcross.
Tom, what made you choose healthcare?
I actually fell into healthcare kind of by mistake really. I was planning on starting my nursing degree in around 1998/99 and thought that spending a year or two working in care would be good experience for that, but life happened. My children came along and it wasn't really the right time to be starting a nursing degree, so I stuck with it, and have been doing it ever since.
Why did you choose to work for Newcross?
To be honest, I had never heard of Newcross until Emma, the Norwich branch Manager gave me a ring. She had seen my CV on one of the job CV sites and was impressed enough to offer me an interview right away. I'll be honest, I was dubious and a bit sceptical about agency work, as it wasn't guaranteed hours, and also, with me not being a driver, that’s a further complication. But when Emma explained what the company was about, and that Newcross are quite selective about who they choose to work for them, then I was suitably impressed. I was satisfied that the company shared the same values and high expectations of care that I do.
Take us through an average working day?
My working day is varied depending on where I am working, I'm lucky at the moment, because we have been given a contract by a company that supports adults with mental health difficulties and severe brain trauma, so my job is more support orientated than actual care work.
A typical day will consist of assisting the resident with his personal care in the morning, prompting him to eat and drink, and take his medication, then accompanying him into Norwich to do whatever he would like, which is usually a bit of shopping, a brew in a tea shop, or a cheeky wee drink in the pub. After we return from the city, sometimes we'll watch a bit of TV or sit outside in the garden chatting if the weather is nice. My day, with exception of the things that need doing daily (IE the personal care, medication, eating, drinking etc.) is pretty much up to the resident, so every day is different.
What’s your favourite part of the day?
My favourite part of the day is always the morning personal care. The gentleman I work with is very similar to myself, so he's a bit of a joker, is very cheeky and likes to banter with whoever is working with him. He always has a big smile on his face when he sees me in the morning, and is always ready with a bit of cheeky banter.
What’s your least favourite part of the day?
The alarm going off at five in the morning!
What is the proudest moment you’ve had at work?
I don't really have a proud moment that stands out, but it makes me feel proud every time one of the ladies in the office tells me I have received great or outstanding feedback from a client.
What does working in healthcare mean to you?
It means everything to me. I suffer a fair bit with depression and anxiety, and helping others makes me feel good, which in turn helps me deal with the depression and keeps it at bay. As an indication of this, I only ever suffer bad days when I’m not working, and can’t recall a single one when I have been at work.
What motivates you?
My motivation, apart from those mentioned above, is making sure that those I care for are provided with the best care possible, have everything they need, and are happy and content as much as is possible. I'm very selective about where I work, I always look at their CQC report before I accept a shift at somewhere new, and as much as possible, talk to some of the other team members from Newcross who have worked there. Quality of care and standards are important to me, and I won’t compromise mine, or Newcross' name by working anywhere with standards I don't believe are acceptable. Fortunately, these places are few and far between, although there are still one or two places.
Who do you look up to?
At work, Emma, my manager, she is absolutely the best 'boss' (it annoys her when I call her that, so obviously, it’s all I call her!) I’ve ever worked for.
The support she has given me over the time I’ve been with Newcross has been above and beyond anything she was expected to deliver as manager. She is simply, outstanding.
In the context of personally, that would be Scotland's giant second row, Richie Gray. And when I say look up to, I mean literally look up to, he is 6 ft. 10! Aside from his stature though, everything about him is impressive, his work ethic, his attitude to training, the way he plays and his total dedication to the team whenever he plays. If I could have half the qualities he does, I would be a happy man.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work? What’s that again?! All joking aside, I'm a very big rugby fan, I used to play rugby up until last year, but I’m 41 now, and my brain says 'run fat boy run!' but my body says 'no way soft lad, when does the bar open?' I'm also a bit of a technology geek and I have a little recording studio in my spare room and record songs when I get the time, as well as gaming on the Xbox.