Jeff is the Assistant Locality Manager at a supported living service in Bishops Lydeard. But this is a new role for him; for four years he was a Waking Nights’ Support Worker in Chard.
The job suited him because five years ago his wife started a nursing degree and he needed a job that would enable him to care for his children while his wife was studying.
He is keen to point out that working as a support worker at night is different to the daytime role:
“It fulfilled my need for employment and it also enabled me to carry on with tasks in the daytime. It worked well because I could sleep while the children were at school,”
He recommends sharing your interests within the role:
“You have to like working on your own and demonstrate initiative. It’s important to keep yourself awake and motivated to avoid complacency. You have to take an interest in what’s going on. Even though you’re a night worker, you’re still part of the team. Historically there has been a divide between day and night colleagues which I was keen to overcome.”
“I did health and safety for years and I was able to put this into practice at night. I was studying health and safety and I was able to use my study to inform my practice and vice versa. I could go above and beyond normal night worker responsibilities by checking fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, ensuring corridors were clear – you can take initiative to do these things which takes pressure off colleagues during the day. This becomes reciprocal too and boosts team working.”
Jeff advises anyone who is considering night support work to consider sharing their interests:
“If you like crafting or knitting you could share this because it can be quite therapeutic and relaxing for individuals we support.”
Even though working as a night support worker is solitary, Jeff was always aware that there was support available:
“I was supporting a lady who needed her oxygen checked through the night. There was always someone to call on even if it’s another locality.”
He also praises the Employee Assistance Programme which gives colleagues access to free counselling and support 24/7 and it is also available to partners and immediate family members.
Jeff is aware that working as a waking nights’ support worker has enabled him to understand all aspects of the support worker role and help him achieve promotions to become a Better Practice Lead and more recently to secure his promotion to become an Assistant Locality Manager.
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