4 Colleagues with awards

Eight award-winning ways to keep caring in a crisis

What drives someone to keep on caring in a crisis?

Jenni successfully led one of our homes through a Covid outbreak, at one point she was the only one left standing and in her first month too! So, is it any wonder that she is one of our finalists in this year’s Inspirational People Awards?

Keep reading to find out eight award-winning ways to keep caring in a crisis but first, meet Jenni:

When Jenni started working in elderly care 14 years ago, she found it too much “conveyor-belt care” and too little “person-centred care”. So, she joined an agency where she began working with autistic individuals and people with learning disabilities.

Jennifer Brown with Thank you flowers

“I fell in love with it, despite initially fearing the sector. The person-centred side was everything I wanted. I only wish I’d known and made the transition sooner.”

– Jennifer Brown, Lead Support Worker

So when a role came up for a support worker with Discovery, Jenni went for it whilst (needlessly) worrying that she didn’t have enough experience – a month later, she was in post.

That was February 2019, and she was in at the deep end then, too, because as she was starting, the manager was leaving. However, as a hands-on learner, she quickly found her way, but a turn of events meant she ended up leaving too.

So why didn’t she stay?

“I have a slight brain injury, and one of the people we support was having “distressed behaviour,” I say in inverted commas because if there is distress, then there is a trigger, and it is down to us to find it and make it better.
However, my manager felt I would be safer in a supported living environment.
At first, I was reluctant, but the transition turned out to be an exciting change. We were going out every day, which was entirely new for me. I was there quite a while before my mental health crashed. After a break, I went back to elderly care, but as soon as I did, I thought, “oh no, what have I done?”

So, Jenni messaged her old manager to ask if she had any vacancies, and she did, this time for a lead support worker.

It’s February again – this time 2022, and history repeats itself: The assistant manager is leaving as Jenni is starting, and soon after, one of the people we support didn’t look well:

“He started going yellow, and his lips, blue. So we called an ambulance, took his observations, and got his support plan ready for the ambulance’s arrival.”

He tested positive for COVID and next day the team, the manager and all five of the people we support went down with it, and Jenni was the only one left.

“I was in a bit of a panic, thinking, how am I going to do this?

How did you do it?

  1. communication: I stayed connected with management all the way through, continuing to ask for what I needed
  2. support: I could see everyone was doing everything they could to support me
  3. flexibility: In the end, we borrowed people from other homes
  4. crisis management: I had a capable agency member emergency medication trained
  5. positive mindset: I kept telling myself it would all be okay
  6. feedback: the feedback has been fantastic
  7. appreciation: I know management appreciates me – someone turned up at the door with a huge bunch of flowers!
  8. validation: I got nominated for an inspiring people award

All those things kept me going. I missed my team, but now we are stronger for it, as am I. It was a good learning curve. No more self-sabotaging “I’m not good enough” thoughts!

So that’s why Jenni was a finalist in our Inspirational People Awards this year:

IPA AWARDS jodie ben jenni jade sarah cynthia
Pictured here with fellow Inspiring People Award Finalists – Jade Jones and Jodie Towers, and winner Ben Jackson-Nash.
Locality Manager Sarah Liano, and support worker Cynthia web.

We think you will agree just how well deserved it is.

Jenni’s values of courage, respect, integrity, ambition and partnership shine through, and that’s what we look for in a person. So if you have them too and feel inspired to work with us, you can see the roles we have across Somerset here. Or if you know someone who already works for us that you think deserves an Inspirational Person Award, make their day and nominate them here.

The Dimensions group (which Discovery is a part of) has been officially accredited as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute for two years running. Additionally, this year, we received a “Wellbeing” award and a “Great Workplace for Women” award.