– Caroline Handley, Staff Nurse at Maryland Healthcare shares her experience –

I started my career initially as a playgroup assistant for young children before becoming a private nanny for a local family. A friend quite casually asked me if I would be interested in a care assistant post in the nursing home she worked in. I accepted the job, and worked as a care assistant for over 12 years, but I knew I wanted to progress my career, and so decided to train as a nurse.

I went to Bangor Technical College and completed my access course before being accepted to Queen’s University to study nursing. With great perseverance, I graduated in 2010 as a registered nurse. I was very proud of my achievements as a mature and determined student – I had achieved my career choice and I loved nursing.

I remained as a nurse within the nursing home that I had been a career for 2 years; I then went on to work for English Corporate Group for 3 years. Next, I transitioned to work for a large company specialising in nursing assessments, but missed the patient interaction so much, that I transferred back into the nursing home environment.

I was fortunate enough to learn about Maryland through a previous nursing work colleague who was working there and I now work in Willow Unit, which caters for interim care, transitioning patients from hospital through a period of convalescence back to returning to their own home. I love working in Willow as there is great job satisfaction gained from seeing patients come into us quite poorly, before seeing them regain their confidence to go home.

The team in Willow are fantastic and I could not wish for better people to work with. Nothing is too much trouble and the skill mix of staff is second to none. The modern facilities are spacious, brand new and fully equipped, which makes care easier to facilitate and maintain.

I am hoping to further my career through achieving management qualifications and hopefully progressing my nursing skills.