As a Leader - Practice What You Preach by Virginia Perkins

Springhill Care Group is now firmly on its journey to achieving its ambition of becoming an outstanding provider of care but also an employer of choice.


I often get asked through various forums, internal and external, about what makes an outstanding organisation. My response to this is quite simple, it has to start from the top. Our leaders have to practice what they preach which ultimately cascades throughout the various designations within the organisation.


To create this culture, our leaders have to ensure that every interaction is underpinned by the values of the organisation, the behavioural competencies and the utilisation of excellent people skills. Being a leader is certainly not an easy job. As a leader, you have to deal with high levels of responsibility and pressure. Your employees expect you to motivate, inspire and guide them together with treating them fairly and consistently.


In order for the workforce to be provided with the direction and focus that it needs we require our leaders to promote these qualities throughout. I often say “please treat your valued colleagues the way that you would like to be treated”.


Creating this type of culture starts at the top. As leaders, we want to set the precedence for how you would like your employees to perform their respective job roles and to establish feeling that excite and unite. We encourage our leaders to listen to their employees and observe their workplace behaviours and activities. We expect our leaders not to just follow the relevant policies and procedures but to lead the way and take care of their staff team by treating them with respect.


Doing this will increase employee confidence, motivation, trust and loyalty to ensure that our workforce continues to grow to achieve the vision of Springhill Care Group.



Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behaviour does.


By Virginia Perkins

Associate Director

People and Organisational Development



Leading and Inspiring People by Virginia Perkins

Following the recent attendance at the prestigious Investors in People event in London where Springhill Care Group was named as a leader in people management practice globally, having been ranked in sixth position at the annual ceremony. As an organisation we know that we are firmly on our journey to achieving Platinum with our continuous leadership and management development. 


With the knowledge and skills inherent within our existing leadership team we are certain to continue achieving greater results by developing the workforce through effective people management and engagement.

We are continuously improving our leadership behaviours and competencies because we understand that people are fundamental to our business as they are unique, worthy of care, understanding and invested in. People deserve to be treated fairly and have a meaningful voice on matters that affect them.


In order to ensure that our leaders inspire the workforce in line with the Investors in People framework we expect the group’s leaders to be active role models, leading by example and trusted by people in the organisation. We also encourage our leaders to motivate and inspire people to achieve results above and beyond what is expected of them. Future leadership capabilities are defined in line with the organisation’s values and leaders meet these challenges.


Together with the new performance competency framework and further investment in frontline leadership development we are sure to keep inspiring and motivating our workforce to deliver against the strategic objectives of the organisation to ensure that we achieve our vision of becoming a service provider and employer of choice.


Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.



By Virginia Perkins

Associate Director

People and Organisational Development


Understanding the Business by Virginia Perkins

Over the past few months it has been a pleasure to explain to the workforce about the Company’s behavioural competencies and what they mean to us as individuals, our colleagues, our visitors and stakeholders but more importantly how they influence our business.



My recent blogs have focussed on team work, customer focus, communication, continuous improvement, achieving positive results and attitude. Finally, I would like to emphasise the importance of understanding our business and the sector that we work in so we know what is expected of us.



As employees of Springhill Care Group we need to understand the business and its aspirations to enable us to contribute to the vision of becoming a service provider and employer of choice in the communities that we serve.


Therefore, we as employees need to know the expectations of the Care Quality Commission and other relevant stakeholders, for example the Safeguarding Authority to understand how their rules and regulations influence our business and care sector in general. Working within the regulators guidelines and framework helps us to ensure that we are compliant to carry out our job roles safely, legally and offering the best care and support to our residents.



We also have to understand the Company’s internal policies, procedures and handbooks which explain the expectations of working in particular functions.


To help employees understand the business more, the Investors in People Steering group will be launching a new model in the New Year which will explain how each employee in their respective job role will contribute to the vision of Springhill Care Group. This is in order for us to understand how we strive to achieving Springhill Care Group’s vision and communicate this to all employees to underpin their knowledge and understanding.



Going forward, each staff meeting, appraisal and supervision meeting will focus on the six areas of the business which include people, customer, company profile, finance, business intelligence and governance. All job roles will understand how they contribute to the business under these relevant aspects. Full training on the new system will be provided to all employees as soon as the format has been agreed by the Board of Directors.



This new model is another great example of how Springhill Care Group is moving forward and competing to be a leader in the healthcare sector.


Understand your business the best.


By Virginia Perkins

Associate Director

People and Organisational Development


My Admiral Nurse Journey - Autumn 2017 (part two)


Jakki Whitehead, an experienced care professional, is training to become one of dementia care’s ‘beacons of excellence’ – an Admiral Nurse. This blog follows her journey and thoughts….



In the second part of my blog I take a more in-depth look at dementia training and how it can help both staff and the residents we care for.


Here's a recap of the dual purpose of this months blog:

1. To tell you about the importance of the relationship between the Training Coordinator and the Admiral Nurse in a nursing home setting.

2. To introduce our Training Coordinator, Natalia, who will be writing an occasional blog for you in our Springhill Care Newsletter.  


An excellent dementia training package helps the carers to understand what is expected from them and to expand their understanding of dementia in the wider context.


Natalia, who I introduced in part one of my last blog, as Riversway’s Training Coordinator, sees new carers and auxiliary staff through the induction programme and identifies that most new starters rarely know that there are more than one type of dementia. Also, although she sees some people who are naturally sensitive to people with dementia; she also sees new staff with fixed, stereotypical ideas about people with dementia, the most common being that ‘people with dementia are aggressive.’


Both of us believe that it is essential that we challenge these stigmas and lack of awareness to bring to the carers new understanding and a desire to find out about the benefits of working in the dementia care field.


Natalia’s knowledge of the new staff needs helps us to identify where to focus extra training and where to place them within the home.


NataliaNatalia and I continue to challenge the stereotypical beliefs through raising awareness of inappropriate, old fashioned and demeaning language use to that with a more positive intention. For example, changing ‘challenging behaviour’ to ‘distressed reaction.’ This change helps the focus to move from the resident with dementia being to blame for a behaviour to an understanding that there is an attempt at communication of an unmet need.


I see Natalia, our Training Coordinator, as someone who knows the staff training needs and can let me know where to focus the dementia care training and at what level. She sees me, the Admiral Nurse, as a trainer of the equivalent of Health Education England’s tier 1 and tier 2 dementia care and person-centred care training.


She also sees me as a useful resource in being someone at service manager level to give permission to the carers to take time with our residents and their relatives; to get to know them and their individual ways. Challenging the belief that we must all rush from one task to the next.


Our next project together is the development of a Professional Forum where staff can raise problems with theoretical training which does not always translate on the floor. The recognition of this need has come from the learning curves previously mentioned. There will of course be cake!


By Jakki Whitehead, Admiral Nurse, Riversway Nursing Home 



If you missed part one of my blog please click HERE



My Admiral Nurse Journey - Autumn 2017 (part one)


Jakki Whitehead, an experienced care professional, is training to become one of dementia care’s ‘beacons of excellence’ – an Admiral Nurse. This blog follows her journey and thoughts….


My latest blog has a dual purpose:


1. To tell you about the importance of the relationship between the Training Coordinator and the Admiral Nurse in a nursing home setting.

2.  To introduce our Training Coordinator, Natalia, who will be writing an occasional blog for you in our Springhill Care Group Newsletter. 


Natalia has been working at Riversway for one year and over that time has really got to grips with the training programme; ensuring that our staff attend both mandatory courses as well as extracurricular training, both of which will improve the lives of our residents and make work more enjoyable for the staff members.  


When I asked her about the link between her role and dementia care she said: “Everything I do is linked to dementia.”


About 75 per cent of the residents at Riversway have dementia and a lot of the skills in good dementia care are the type of excellent care practices which we would want for all of our residents.


For example:

  • Good communication between carers and residents, carers and relatives and with the multi-disciplinary teams
  • Good person-centred care
  • Carers using empathy and compassion to be aware of residents’ thoughts and feelings.


However, Natalia also has to interpret some of the training received in order to make sure that it is relevant for our residents, with or without dementia.


Over the last year Natalia says that she has become aware that most generic training courses, such as moving and handling training, are too broad in their approach for a lot of our residents. This is something with which I have struggled for a number of years, attending courses but knowing that the techniques do not address the problems which are found every day on the floor in a dementia care area.


We agree that, with good communication between ourselves and also with input from staff on the floor, a balance can be found between legal and safe manoeuvres which can meet the individual needs of the residents.



In the nursing dementia environment at Riversway we find that the focus on person-centred and relationship-centred care enables us, as a staff group, to know the residents’ individual needs.


This means that if it has been seen that a carer is not using the best practise identified for that resident a quick word to Natalia or myself can help to direct training where it is needed, hopefully in a timely but sensitive manner for the carer; thus supporting both the resident and paid carer.


Our Assistant Nurse Practitioners and also the Dementia Champions are good at identifying and raising awareness of these needs which helps to flag up training gaps.


This does not always happen smoothly and there have been some steep learning curves over the last year but good, respectful communication amongst staff does help to achieve the desired outcome.



By Jakki Whitehead, Admiral Nurse, Riversway Nursing Home 


Click HERE to read Part two of my blog



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