Posted: 28 August 2018
Julie Lusk is a Registered Manager at Solar Care Homes who support adults with a learning disability in Cornwall.
In this blog, she talks about why it’s important for registered managers to look after their own wellbeing. She says that starting with a ‘healthy self’ enables her to better support the health and wellbeing of people who live and work in her service. She’s used Skills for Care’s 'Wellbeing for registered managers: a practical survival guide' to help.
Why is it important for registered managers to look after their wellbeing?
I love my job and feel very proud to have a fantastic team that’s fully committed to ensuring the individuals we support have meaningful and fulfilled lives - but it’s not always easy.
My role can be quite demanding - I’m the responsible person who’s registered and vetted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and governed by the local authority.
I manage the service and lead our team, which includes been responsible for the safety and wellbeing of everyone who lives and works in the service.
But without looking after your own wellbeing, it’s difficult to achieve a well-led, caring, safe, effective and responsive service.
We’re usually looking after everyone else, so making time for yourself is really important. Registered managers are challenged every day so we need the opportunity to offload and have time to reflect.
Julie’s used Skills for Care’s 'Wellbeing for registered managers: a practical survival guide' to help. It’s based around the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ approach which includes these key aspects - ‘connect’, ‘be active’, ‘take notice’, ‘keep learning’ and ‘give’.
How are you using the ‘Five ways to wellbeing’ approach in your service?
It’s useful to know that many other managers are in the same boat as me and that we all need time to reflect on our own wellbeing. The ‘Five ways’ are really helpful.
I like to connect with others, share ideas and experiences both professionally and personally. After reading the guide, I realised that a lot of my connections were via social media, so I took time to be active and meet people face to face, where possible, and make more time for my friends and family.
I have to admit it’s a juggling act as it can be hard to really ‘switch off’ - I’m studying for my Level 5 Diploma, am a mum, a wife, run a household and like to keep in touch with family and friends.
I always keep learning. I read and take part in health and social care discussions, do surveys via social media and am part of supportive manager groups – these are all great ways to give and receive positive feedback.
I’ve also found that it’s invaluable to have a mentor who I speak to on a monthly basis as part of Skills for Care’s ‘New manager’s’ pilot. They help me to set goals, seek advice and gain more experience.
What’s been your greatest wellbeing success, since using the guide?
I’d say being more planned and organised, as my biggest weakness was, and often still is, time-management. Setting goals, writing priority lists and blocking out time in my diary helps, even if things don’t always go according to plan.
This has helped me be more efficient and reduce unnecessary workplace stress.
Have you used the guide, or are you planning to, within your team?
I have used the guide’s ‘take notice action plan’ and the ‘positives log’ with the team to talk about the positives, what’s being observed, learnt and noticed, and what’s liked and disliked. This tool really helped the team to share ideas and discuss their qualities and challenges.
Taking this approach has boosted morale and created a more open and honest workplace culture, where staff feel involved and valued.
Which of the activities or exercises have you found most useful?
As a manager you feel it’s your role to know and achieve everything and that there’s no room for error. In reality, we’re human and make mistakes, so it’s about learning from these mistakes and doing it differently next time. Share your mistakes with your team as it makes you human. Discuss them with someone, maybe your mentor.
The keep learning section of the guide is useful to help you do this.
What would you say to a new manager looking to support their own wellbeing?
Keep up-to-date and learn new skills. This gives you confidence that you’re expanding your knowledge and ability. Write down what you want to learn and how you can achieve this. Plan and organise.
Finally, make sure you give yourself time for reflection and maintaining your own wellbeing. If you don’t look after yourself, how can you be expected to look after others?
Julie's a registered manager member of Skills for Care. Find out more about membership and how to access the 'Wellbeing for registered managers: a practical survival guide'. It includes top tips, practical exercises, information and best practice. Go to www.skillsforcare.org.uk/membership.
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