Last week, I visited a nursing home  – one of the few in the borough and one I had not been to for a while. I was trying to iron through some local difficulties however when I was there, chatting to the staff about the situation, I turned around and saw someone I’d recognised and I knew I recognised  but couldn’t quite place at first.

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She obviously recognised me too and we played that game where you see who mentioned whose name first to try and place each other (she won – but then, I had phoned to say I was visiting so she’d had some pre-warning!).

I last saw her about 4 years ago. She had been working in a different residential home in the borough and we had worked together when I had been conducting a safeguarding investigation involving two residents in that home. It had been a long process and had involved a lot of joint working. It was one of the more difficult situations where one resident was involved in the abuse of another resident (which actually, is a topic I should come back to because it probably is less uncommon that most people imagine).

At that time she had been stressed. Pushed this way and that way, it had culminated in an late afternoon visit from me to find out what was being done and her bursting into tears. Eventually about two hours later – and after telling me of the extreme situations her management were putting her in – which frankly was plain and simple bullying – we parted ways with a partial resolution. I can’t say I was a great help, except for being a sympathetic ear and being physically there at the time that she had been just about pushed over the ‘edge’ . Iexplained that there are some things that are more important than our jobs and when you are arriving at work and bursting into tears, you can’t really be in a ‘good place’.  But from that experience, I knew she had a good work ethic and a caring approach – a part of the conflict with management was due to the time she wanted to spend with residents and things she wanted to change that she had seen weren’t working in their favour.

So when all this clicked into place, we chatted about that time. She looked so much better and she looked so much younger than she had four years ago. She was enthusiastic about her work and about her manager which to be honest, confirmed my own impressions of the staff team. A happy home is a happy staff team.

I was comforted by the meeting and comforted by my confidence in the placement as a direct result.