– A word from Jessie McGreevy, Unit Manager at Maryland HealthCare –

“I fell into caring when I was 17 after taking time out after school to consider what to do with my life. This ‘accident’ definitely turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I started working as a care assistant in my local nursing home and realised very quickly that I loved looking after and being around the older generation. I applied to Queen’s University and to my surprise they accepted me. 

Since I qualified as an Adult Nurse, I have pushed hard to expand my knowledge and work my way up the ladder. I have completed various roles on a local and national level from Nurse, Deputy Manager, Regional Trainer, Home Manager and finally my current role as Unit Manager at Maryland HealthCare. Whilst working full time, I have also completed a further degree in Dementia Studies and published over 10 papers in national nursing journals such as the Nursing Times and Nursing Older People Journal. However, I think one of the things I am proudest of is helping to get proper dementia training into the undergraduate nurse’s programme at Queen’s (we won an award for this from the Alzheimer’s society).

I qualified 7 years ago now with a First Class Honours; those seven years have been a real rollercoaster but the main thing I have learnt is that the only area I want to work in is the nursing home sector. I love every minute of my job, even the stressful days. I have been a finalist for several international nursing awards, which is always a great accolade. However, as a nurse the main inspiration for my commitment to caring for the older generation is ensuring they live a dignified and fulfilled life, whether at home or in a nursing home setting. My main passion is dementia care and I have loved helping to design the environment in Maryland’s Rowan Unit but I decided to change my focus and try something new as the manger of the intermediate care unit and I love it.

I can’t describe the satisfaction and pride you get when a resident comes in unable to walk and very quiet and unsure of themselves, but a few weeks later they literally walk out the door with a smile on their face, ready to live their lives back in their own home. The best thing hearing people say that they have loved their time within my unit and they will never forget the staff or friends they have made… that is the only reward a nurse really wants!!”