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Glad To Care: Showcase – Rodney Francis
‘Glad to Care’ – Rodney Francis
As part of our ‘Glad to Care’ awareness week, we have been celebrating all the exceptional carers across the UK. However, we have one particular carer we would like to ‘showcase’ for today’s ‘Showcase Saturday’! The fantastic Mr Rodney Francis.
Rodney provides exceptional care towards all his residents and considers them all close friends and family. He has dedicated his life to care and was recognised for his outstanding work by Aspiration Training and was awarded ‘Learner of the Year’
This is what inspired Rodney, and why he is glad to care…
My name is Rodney Francis. I was born in Jamaica in a little town called Mandeville Manchester. I have always had a passion for helping others, especially those who are less fortunate and cannot help themselves. In Jamaica I’ve done several jobs, but I have never worked with elderly people. One of the jobs that I really enjoyed was taking children to school and picking them up, the joy on their faces when they see me was more than money could buy. Sometimes their parents would tell me they don’t have money to send their children to school or money to pay me and I would say “It’s okay, don’t worry about paying me for now just send them to school pay me when things better.
When my Grandmother got sick, no one was available to look after her, so I had to take on that role. It was hard at first as a man trying to look after her and attending to her personal issues. I used to feel awkward carrying out personal tasks for her because she is my grandmother and I thought a woman should be doing it. As time goes by, I find looking after her becomes more of a natural task as if it was part of my daily routine. My Grandmother used to repeat things from the past, forget to eat, lash out at every one and some other odd behaviours at times. She was put down as a senile old lady, but I never paid much attention to what people had to say, I just knew she was my Grandmother and I had to do what I had to do to help her. One day I was talking to my girlfriend (now wife) and I was explaining to her some things that my grandmother was doing, and she told me it sounds like she has some form of dementia. She told me to take her to the doctor as they could test her for it. My grandmother was diagnosed to have Alzheimer’s. I went online to look up the problems and see how I could help her. It was a challenge some days but I did it.
I also had to look after my uncle who had diabetes which was not controlled well and as a result of that he was blind and had kidney failure and was having to attend dialysis 3 times a week. It was extremely challenging. I have never seen myself as a career just that I had to do it for my family, which I did.
When I came to live in the United Kingdom, and was looking for a job, my wife asked me if I wanted driving jobs, factory jobs or some similar roles. I told her that I wanted a care worker job and she said to me, “Are you sure? As you’re going to have to wash and do personal care for ladies.” I was not sure, but I knew I wanted to try it, so I said yes. She went on the Internet and the first job that came up was at ‘Brookthrope Home.’ She called them and I was given a date to come for an interview. I filled out the application and had the interview and was given the job. It was a scary but exciting moment as I have never work in the care industry before, but I was willing to give it a go and I was willing to work. My wife is a nurse and she always tell me little stories and I decide that I want to make a difference in others’ lives too.
A care worker career is rewarding if you are a compassionate individual who enjoys caring for people and I am that person. The job may be demanding at times but you can derive a sense of satisfaction from helping residents feel comfortable and loved. Also, because I spent a lot of time with residents, I had the opportunity to develop close relationships, particularly with those individuals who needed long-term care. I was called one of the residents ‘best friend’ and even with them having dementia I was always told how lovely my smile was. I feel great that I got this role and I will always go that extra mile for my residents and their families. I will make sure that they are cared for and safe.
There are a lot of memories I have that made me even more determined to carry on this career path. One was when I was told by a resident’s wife, “You have a gift. What you are doing is phenomenal. Don’t ever stop what you’re doing. You have a certain air about you that made me trust you and I appreciate the love and care you are giving to my husband. Not everyone has that.” As she walked away out the door, I took a moment to reflect on what she said to me. When I got home, I told my wife about it and she said “You need to be proud of yourself and carry on making people feel loved and appreciate never stop showing them respect. I love you and very proud of you.
For me, it’s not always about the money and yes, I do need money to survive but it’s about the care I can provide and how I make someone feel at the end of the day. In an ideal World, all providers should view each resident as their grandparents, parents, siblings, significant other or friend. How would you feel if your family member was in a care home or on that hospital bed instead? Would you not want the best care possible? Every obstacle I have faced has made me want to carry on each day to be a better ‘me’ and to provide for my residents and their family. I am inspired by my wife and my cousin who are very brilliant at their job in my eyes. However, my main source of inspiration to become a care worker comes from the desire to help people and care for them in their times of need. I am also a person who thrives on being challenged and I always have new goals to achieve, and this career offers much diversity and learning opportunities. I have learnt so much. I would encourage anybody interested in care work to just be brave and go for it. I did and I am enjoying it every day.
I have even gotten an award since starting on this journey and this has made me prouder of myself that I am willing to do more and be better each day. It was also very rewarding to feel that my input, no matter how small, had an effect on the lives of those I was caring for and that’s what the award showed me. Overall, it just warms my heart to see the residents happy and smiling
Rodney continues to provide fantastic care to this day! If you feel inspired by Rodney’s story and want to start your career in care, please check out our available vaccines.