The Path To Progression

Dawn Buchanan-Hole, Learning and Development Manager at Sunrise Senior

Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare, discusses why professional development is the key to excellent care.

Working in social care is an incredibly rewarding job but it can also bring considerable responsibilities and prove challenging at the best of times. In the context of a sector facing both internal and external pressures, it is important for care providers to develop extensive and flexible training programmes which enable team members to offer a high quality of care. As a result, ensuring all of the team have access to effective professional development opportunities is something that should be at the heart of best practice across the care sector.

RECOGNISING THE IMPORTANCE OF CPD At Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare, we strongly believe that, while it is important to recruit people with the right attitudes and beliefs, it is also vital to invest in the development of team members. We aim to create a learning culture rather than a training one and believe that this is an important part of creating a sustainable and positive workplace.

With this in mind, we recently invested significantly in enhancing the professional development on offer to our team members and we have already seen a number of very positive results.

What does a good training programme look like?

Our training program was developed aſter we identified the need to create more opportunities for professional and personal development as an organisation. We felt that using a recognised leadership development programme would be a good way to achieve this. The programme was designed to enhance the skills and career pathways available to our team members and has been accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

The programme we have developed is open to nurses, senior carers and Heads of Departments and offers both core and role specific modules which enable our team to better understand their responsibilities and key functions. There are also sessions on leading and managing change, which include many motivation theories, and opportunities to acquire additional skills around team member supervisions and performance monitoring. Through our training programmes we endeavour to nurture and embed our core values, to clearly set out our organisation’s standards, acceptable behaviours and, above all, to explain clearly how these can be put into practice.

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POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE TEAM The impact of this training programme has been profound, our development strategy has helped us to significantly improve the quality of the services we provide to residents and their families.

We aim to create a

learning culture rather than a training one.

Offering the training has contributed to the validation, credibility and competence of team members helping them to stay up to date with the changes within the sector as well as enhancing their knowledge and skills.

Importantly, we have found that well-planned continual development programmes also bring benefits to our residents and other stakeholders by establishing and maintaining a more sustainable and qualified workforce.

IMPROVING JOB SATISFACTION Improving the professional development we offer to our team has not only contributed to a better-quality service, it has also brought the added benefit of improving the motivation and job satisfaction of our employees. The programmes aim to improve the competence, confidence and self-esteem of staff by highlighting how valuable the care they deliver to residents really is.

Through this training, we have noticed an increase in our teams’ engagement levels and discretionary behaviour. We have a highly satisfied, happy and motivated team. This is an incredibly important part of the care we offer, particularly given that they have significant interaction with residents and visitors every day.

By investing in excellent professional development programmes which progress team members’ technical skills, management qualities and confidence, we have enhanced our wider organisation. Offering excellent CPD is, thus, one very effective way for organisations in the care sector to ensure they achieve excellent care, underpinned by a team who are well- qualified and highly satisfied in their roles.

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