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Our Nurse case studies

Oana Cojocaru’s storynurse Oana

“I work for Brunelcare as a Registered Nurse, in Saffron Gardens care home.

My nursing career started in Romania, where I grew up and trained as a nurse, completing my nursing degree and working in a hospital; making diabetes my chosen specialism.

My passion for nursing goes back to my early childhood when I looked after my grandfather at one stage and decided I wanted to be a nurse!

Everything changed for me 12 years ago when I relocated to the UK, and with a lapsed nursing PIN, and starting a family, I found work in the restaurant trade instead for a few years. The health and safety, and food safety aspects of managing a restaurant did have some synergy with my nursing training.

Then, two years ago, with a yearning to work as a nurse again, I enrolled for a ‘Back to Practice’ nursing course with University of West of England (UWE), Bristol. At the same time I came across Brunelcare’s Saffron Gardens care home and contacted their Clinical Lead Manager to see if Brunelcare would sponsor my University course. They interviewed me and agreed that they would! Not only this, but they employed me on a part-time basis whilst I was completing my course and paid my nursing PIN. I started working for Brunelcare in October 2017 and finished my requalification course in March 2018, when I became a Registered Nurse with Brunelcare’s Saffron Gardens care home.

What I love about my new nursing career with Brunelcare is the relaxed atmosphere in which I work, in comparison to a hospital setting. It’s like ‘being a nurse in your own home’. The work conditions are less rigid, there is less paperwork and clinical time and instead much more time spent with those in your care. I am mum to a toddler so I also enjoy the flexible work contract I currently have, enabling me to make the most of my nursing and my own family.

To those thinking of joining the care home sector as a nurse, I would say don’t believe everything you hear about dementia care. It’s one of the most satisfying nursing environments where you can give people cuddles, dance and sing with them and generally ‘be’ as you would with your own family.


nurse JoelJoel Tano’s story

“I work for Brunelcare as a Registered Nurse, in Brunelcare's Robinson House care home.

I’ve always taken great pride in being a nurse.

My decision to become a nurse happened at University in the Philippines, where I come from. I originally set out to study engineering but soon realised that working with machines didn’t suit me. Instead, I loved the idea of working with people, to be able to change someone’s life by making them better. That really fired a passion in me! So I switched to studying nursing, qualifying with my nursing degree.

After qualifying, I worked for 12 years in a hospital casualty department. From seeing people arrive at the hospital ill, I always derived huge satisfaction from seeing them go home feeling fitter.

My decision to relocate, with my family, to the UK was triggered in 2005 when the UK care organisation ‘Four Seasons’ were recruiting in the Philippines. Hundreds applied, but I was one of just 80 people selected and so me and my family left to set up home in Scotland, where I worked for Four Seasons as a nurse.  After a while I grew increasingly concerned by a lack of career progression, development and support in that role - I had heard there were better nursing opportunities in the South at that time. I set about researching other care organisations and read some good reviews online about Brunelcare. They had vacancies for nurses so I applied, was offered the job and next thing we knew I was moving my family down to Bristol to start another new phase in our lives! So since 2010 I have been working as a Registered Nurse in Brunelcare’s Robinson House care and nursing home, in Bristol.

I have found the charity to be incredibly supportive, from the interview to the current day. Their working conditions are the best I have experienced. They pay for and encourage my continued training and development. They also provide work pattern flexibility, and I have appreciated how supportive they have been of me as a parent. For example, they agreed to me working overtime when I first arrived in Bristol and was house-hunting.

When I compare my work in a care and nursing home with life in hospital; the work in hospital was very fast turnaround, allowing very little time to get to know the people you were caring for. By complete contrast, at Robinson House I am with those I care for from their arrival with us to the end of their lives. There was also not so much training and support available to me in my hospital position as there has been with Brunelcare. My role is now all about day-to-day nursing and end of life care, and we specialise in dementia care too. My nursing role still has variety and has evolved over time, for example we have more high dependency needs that I am focused on now. Our care home excels in palliative care, for which we have been recognised with a Care & Support West award recently. A care home is definitely not a stagnant place to work, I sometimes hear them described that way.

I enjoy the higher level of interaction I have with those I care for. I have also experienced valuable growth not only in my work but personally too. I feel rewarded with my great job and the happy family life I have here in Bristol, working with Brunelcare.“


deputy manager EdwinEdwin Jose’s story

“I am the Deputy Manager for Brunelcare’s Glastonbury care home.

I qualified as a nurse in India in 2008 and worked as a cardiac ITU nurse in a hospital for nearly two years.

It became my ambition to work in health care management and in 2010 I decided to move to the UK to complete a post graduate diploma in health care management in  Leeds and later I undertook an MBA in General Management, specialising in HR. I was particularly interested in exploring employee motivation and performance in care homes, making this my study focus. Whilst completing my full-time study I also worked part-time as a Senior Carer in a BUPA care home, until the end 2013.

Once I had gained my MBA my sister recommended that I apply for a job with Brunelcare; she was working for Brunelcare at their Glastonbury care home. So I applied and joined them in January 2014 as a Unit Care Leader. My career has progressed quickly since then, with three promotions: to Registered Nurse (when my PIN was granted), becoming a Senior Nurse and then in March 2018 I was appointed as the Deputy Manager for the care home.

The thing I enjoy most about being a nurse is that I love the people living here. Highlights about working for Brunelcare include the incredible support I have received from senior management, the training I have received - which is more than I have received in other organisations. Our staffing ratios and employee long service is above average, and was something that felt encouraging when applying to work for Brunelcare.

In my current role I enjoy a good working atmosphere; I can plan my day and that of our teams. My role entails a lead responsibility for management, support and direction of the care services, managing medications in the home (Glastonbury provides 24/7 nursing care) and spending plenty of time with our residents. The main aspect of my Deputy Management role is the care planning, for example we carefully build an individual’s tailored care plan over several weeks and then continue to develop it overtime. I also carry out pre-assessments, that is, visiting people before they move in to the care home to assess their situation, care needs and agree when they might join us.

The aspect about my job that I most enjoy is the freedom to explore new ideas, new approaches to the care we provide and seeing the benefits of the training and support we receive working for Brunelcare.”



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