My job

'A sense of humour is a must in care of older people'

Pablo Vilar on why there are more challenges ahead for care workers

Pablo Vilar on why there are more challenges ahead for care workers, and being able to handle stress through laughter

What is your job?

I am the home manager at Balhousie Pitlochry Care Home in Perthshire. I manage the running of the home, in charge of the well-being of residents and staff.

Why did you become a nurse?

I have always enjoyed working with people and customer-focused roles and because of that, I was slowly drawn to a career in nursing.

Where did you train?

At Oxford Brookes University, specialising in mental health nursing. It was a great experience, a great university, excellent tutors and mentors along the way. I got a rounded experience and foundation for starting my career.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

There are so many parts that I enjoy, but particularly giving comfort, security and reassurance to residents and their families at a difficult time. It is obviously a tough time for everyone. Families put their trust in us and they don’t do that lightly. I feel privileged knowing they put their trust in us, which gives me an amazing feeling of pride.

What is your greatest challenge?

The recruitment process and getting people through the door can be a great challenge. There’s a lot of misconceptions about working in care homes, particularly that it’s easy, or not as fast paced as other nursing environments. Nursing in a care home is a tough job. You have to make key decisions about residents’ treatment regimens, manage staff at varying levels of responsibility, work closely with all stakeholders, listen to and reassure relatives – all while continually providing the highest level of care to residents. Some of the most qualified and experienced nurses in the profession work in care homes.

Outside work what do you enjoy doing?

If I’m not sleeping, I enjoy hiking with my partner and dog. I love to travel and explore new places, but it always involves food, particularly seafood. I’m always looking out for recommendations from friends and family for the best places to try out.

What or who inspires you, and why? 

It sounds cheesy, but everyone I come into contact with in this field of work inspires me. Every last member of my team has an impact and is important in the care environment.

When working with older people what qualities do you think a nurse should possess?

Like any nurse, they have to be patient, thoughtful, caring and ultimately able to handle what can be a highly stressful profession. It’s a lot of responsibility, so it’s important nurses have an outlet, whether that’s professionally or at home. A sense of humour is an absolute must, the darkest days need a rip-roaring laugh before bedtime.

What are the challenges you face in your role and how do you overcome them?

I am relatively new in my role, so one of my challenges is continuing to build on the work already done at the home, but I’m also passionate about building team culture. I’m passionate about developing staff and seeing them grow over time into confident, active members of the team.

What advice would you give a newly-registered nurse? 

Ask questions and never stop. When you first enter the profession, don’t be afraid to use the ‘new’ tag and make the most of it. Find a good mentor, someone who you want to learn from and learn as much as you can from them. There will always continue to be someone around to learn from and fill the gaps, that never stops.

What is likely to affect nurses working with older people over the next 12 months?

There are always pressures on nurses and I’m sure the next 12 months will be no different. Working in a care home environment, inspections are always significant events. I believe there will be more challenges for employers, particularly financial pressures in the current climate.

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