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Success Stories

From care assistant to manager in two years: nothing stops Nadia

When 28-year-old Dr Nadia Correia arrived in the UK in September 2015 she was completely on her own, without friends or family, and lived in accommodation provided by the nursing home where she worked as a care assistant, having arranged the job with a recruitment agency in Portugal.

She had a room of her own and shared the accommodation with five other care workers.

Nadia worked at the nursing home, near Dorking in Surrey, for about eight months, becoming a team leader within just two months. She worked all the hours she could, including 14-hour shifts and sometimes working six days a week.

“I wanted to buy a car – life is expensive in the UK – and I wanted to save some money,” said Nadia.

After a short visit to her home in Portugal, Nadia returned to the UK and began working at Bricket Wood, a 12-bed special needs care home in St Albans, operated by HSN care.

“When I first came to the UK, it was mainly to improve my English with a view to working here as a clinical psychologist, but when I came to Bricket Wood, that all changed. I began to learn the management side of things and I became very interested in special needs and in this concept of specialist care – 12 residents, one-to-one staff ratio, each resident has their own vehicle and the staff members drive them wherever they want to go – we don’t have that in Portugal. I think I fell in love with the concept.”

Nadia had first come to the UK before the Brexit referendum, and has applied for UK citizenship, but she doesn’t believe Britain’s decision to leave the European Union will deter other motivated people like herself from coming here.

“I think that people who really want to do something with their lives will not be discouraged from coming to the UK,” said Nadia.

“People don’t come to the UK from different countries just to relax and have a peaceful life – we want to do something for ourselves.

“When I was working as a healthcare assistant and my spoken English was poor, I think some people thought ‘Oh, she’s come here for a better life’ but a lot of people come to the UK because there are better job opportunities, and better career progression.

“In Portugal and Spain, to go up in a company, we need to wait seven years; to progress from assistant manager to manager would take at least six or seven years. Here in the UK there are so many opportunities, and the health system here is much better organised. Before I came to the UK I hadn’t seen a hoist – all the manual handling was done by the staff.”

When it was inspected by the CQC in May last year, Bricket Wood was judged as requiring improvement in the areas of being effective and well-led. As the newly appointed manager Nadia is determined to change those ratings.

“I’m very ambitious and I like things to be done properly so I’ll be doing my best to get those ratings changed,” she said.

Nadia finds that being a clinical psychologist helps her greatly in her management role.

“Sometimes people are confused by my title – Dr Nadia – they think I might be a physician, but my knowledge of psychology helps me enormously – when dealing with our residents, their parents, and with the staff.

“Our residents and young people with high support needs and most have autism. I did a research paper on autism for my Level 5 NVQ but I find I bring all my knowledge to my role.

“In January I was registered as a manager by CQC – HSN?Care has supported me through that process and have shown that they believe in me. They have made me feel that I can go on and achieve more.”

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