A Gwynedd care home group has strengthened its team after four of its employees, originally from the Philippines and Zimbabwe, passed qualifying exams.
Meddyg Care, which has specialist dementia nursing homes in Porthmadog and Criccieth, trained, supported and paid for the qualifications for its staff, who are now registered general nurses (RGN).
Christopher Amor and Gino Ballesca provide care in the Criccieth home, whilst Jenny Rosales and Cynthia Fembarega are based in Porthmadog.
Gino also received a promotion to clinical lead this year, which gives him greater responsibility in a supervisory role. They came to the UK as pre-registered nurses as part of the Home Office sponsorship arrangements.
The individuals are all nurses in their home countries, but in order for them to practise in the UK they need to complete a Computer Based Test (CBT), Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and either the Occupational English Test (OET) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Christopher said: “Being a nurse has helped me develop my character, becoming more compassionate and patient with our residents. I really enjoy working with people from different backgrounds and personalities.
“We have a huge responsibility in the home and the exams have made sure my nursing is of the highest standards.
“A typical day for us involves ensuring paperwork is accurate and well documented, completing assessments and care plans and ensuring residents are receiving adequate personal care and enough food and fluid.”
Jenny, who has been a nurse for 12 years after graduating in the Philippines, said: “I came to Wales at the start of the year to pursue professional growth and I already had friends here.
“Meddyg Care helped us prepare for the OSCE exam whilst our practical skills are tested when we care for the resident. The management team have been fantastic, including paying for the qualification and providing us with time off to revise.
“Nursing is all about your knowledge, skills and attitude. You have to give what’s in your heart to care for the residents.”
Gino, whose brother is also a nurse at the care home, said: “It’s a privilege for me to be able to work here.
“My parents encouraged me into the profession, I think they saw the caring side in me and thought I’d excel. I gave it a chance and now I love it.”
Cynthia, based at Porthmadog, said: “Having the support and guidance from Meddyg Care whilst preparing for our exams helped us greatly.
“The dynamics and experience of the team allows us to succeed at every aspect of the job and offer the best possible care to our residents, ensuring they are comfortable and well-looked after.”
Jo Cairns, area manager at Meddyg Care, said: “The support here is second to none. We’re dedicated to upskilling our employees and ensuring the families of our residents know their loved ones are being looked after by highly skilled nurses.
“It normally takes 12 weeks for the individuals to pass their qualifications, but this has been delayed slightly due to COVID-19. The nurses qualify through the Nursing and Midwifery Council.