Life changing career move for support worker

20th May 2020

After longing to work in a caring role for years, Laura McVeigh began her journey when she became a clinical support worker apprentice within the NHS.

We spoke to her to find out more about her experience during challenging times.

How did you start a career in this profession?

It’s always been a lifelong ambition of mine to care for people and work for the NHS. I discovered an advert for a clinical support worker apprentice and it seemed the perfect fit for me. It was an excellent opportunity to start my career in the NHS while learning on the job and making a difference to people’s lives.

How did your passion in this area develop?

My first job when I was a teenager was in a nursing home kitchen, where I helped out with residents. I genuinely enjoyed supporting people when they needed help and ever since, I knew I wanted a career doing this. 

I started my family at a young age and as a mum of six, nursing school wasn’t feasible. Training to become a clinical support worker was a fantastic way to start a career in this industry and begin making a difference. 

How has your role prepared you for these challenging times?

When learning to be a clinical support worker, every day is a new challenge; you’re constantly learning new things, testing your abilities and pushing yourself. The difference with this pandemic is that it’s new for everyone, so we are all learning and adapting together. 

Fortunately, I’m being trained by an amazing team who constantly keeps us updated and ensures we’re working safely, so I feel as prepared as I can be for this situation. I also have the benefit of recently completing study days to ensure my infection prevention and control training is up-to-date.

What challenges are you having to overcome?

There’s been many challenges both in and outside of work. The biggest issue is childcare, my in-laws are usually on-hand to help, but they are vulnerable so I’ve been reluctant to ask them to help out during this time. After self-isolating to ensure we didn’t have the virus, we made the difficult decision to move my children in with my in-laws for the foreseeable future, enabling me to continue working without putting my family at risk.

At work, everything is changing daily, such as new protocols, updated guidelines and changes to wards. It’s difficult not knowing what to expect, but we are all supporting each other and receive updates as soon as there is new information. Knowing you’re never in the dark and everyone has your back really makes the challenges feel much more manageable. 

What does your current day look like?

The day starts with a safety huddle for updates on important information regarding all patients on the ward. My daily tasks include taking patient observations, changing bedding, assisting patients with hygiene, walking or whatever else they may need help with. I’m spending a lot of one-to-one time with patients so they don’t feel alone during this worrying time.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a similar career?

Prepare as best you can. It’s essential to make sure you balance work, study and home life. Dedication is a must, the hours are long and the environment is pressured so you must be committed to your role. It really is all worth the hard work!

What would your message of motivation be?

At the end of each shift, remember to take a moment and be proud of what you did today. Remember to breathe, look after yourself and your colleagues and know that we will all get through this as stronger people.

Find out ways to support the NHS here.

Leeds City College