Every member of staff plays a vital role and is equally important. We employ nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians, audiologists, speech and language therapists, health care assistants, rehabilitation specialists, pharmacists, occupational therapists, and other specialist clinicians, as well as corporate support professionals including administrators, finance, human resource, IT, and communication specialists.
Find out what our staff say about First Community in the case studies below.
National Apprenticeship Week, coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2018 (NAW 2018), from 5 to 9 March 2018, we spoke to First Community apprentice, Amber Smith.
Amber is completing a 13 month apprenticeship placement at First Community as part of her Level 2 Business and Administration course with East Surrey College supported by Skills for Health.
Deciding to do an apprenticeship
“I never got on very well with college and it was not the way I wanted to learn. I didn’t really enjoy spending time in classrooms and being given assignments to go away and write. I decided that the best path for me was to do an apprenticeship.
I applied for a few positions and I was invited to interview at First Community. I liked the feel of the organisation straight away. Everyone that I met during the interview process was friendly and approachable. It was also local and easy to get to so I felt very comfortable coming here.”
Experience so far
“So far my time at First Community has been a really good experience. It’s always busy and there are lots of different things to do. I do a variety of day-to-day tasks and I like helping the different teams. I’ve done lots of new things like work for the annual Quality Improvement Day and updating the learning management system for staff.
I’ve learnt a lot of different skills since starting at First Community. I’m generally quite a quiet person but this has given me the confidence to talk to new people. I have also learnt a lot about the NHS and the different programmes that it offers which is something I knew very little about before.”
The benefits of an apprenticeship
“I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who is interested. You are in the work environment and getting hands on experience. You are earning while learning, which means no debt and it is a really good, practical option. You get to apply your learning directly to the job.”
Sarah Billiald, First Community’s CEO, has worked four days a week since she joined the company in November 2016. This allows her to lead First Community successfully as well as maintain her responsibilities as a carer.
‘Using First Community’s flexible working policy to shape my working hours around my responsibilities outside work (typical sandwich generation pressures with a seven year old son and aging parents) was really important to me,’ said Sarah. ‘I am able to work four days a week but other colleagues have different arrangements to meet their needs, and our organisational needs, as we deliver first class clinical services. We have nurses who work evening and night shifts, physiotherapists who work four days a week, immunisation nurses who have term-time only contracts, and support staff who work 8am-4pm Of course the needs of colleagues and the business change over time too so we endeavour to be flexible as circumstances change.’
First Community also operates ‘a bank’ workforce which offers even more flexibility to qualified staff who don’t want to commit to set hours.
Sarah was particularly pleased that CQC inspectors identified that First Community’s approach to inclusivity has a positive impact. The report said:
‘The entire board was committed to running an organisation that had equality for staff and patients at the heart of how it delivered services. The examples were too numerous to list but the current board appointed a part-time CEO, who was able to role model work-life balance and who provided a strong message to staff about equality in the workplace. We heard many stories and met many staff who talked to us about how the organisation had found ways of enabling them to continue working or supported professional development in challenging circumstances.’
‘I hope my working part-time demonstrates how committed First Community is about being flexible and inclusive. I would encourage anyone thinking of applying for a job at First Community to talk to us about flexing roles around your work/life balance. Our friendly team of clinical managers and HR team are open to discussing a range of options.’
Lena joined First Community in 2010 and completed her Health Visitor training with her placement being at First Community.
Lena has completed projects and secondments and is now working as our Improvement and Transformation Lead.
Here is what Lena says about working at First Community.
“I applied to First Community in 2010 as a staff nurse and I actually didn’t get it but I got some excellent feedback and was encouraged to apply and complete the health visitor training. I had a brilliant experience because First Community were very supportive of me getting the richest experience I could get from the training so I had a lot of freedom about where I would do my placements.
When I qualified I worked as a health visitor and it was busy but there was a good preceptorship in place and training provided.”
“There was an opportunity to do a secondment in productive community services which was a completely different role. First Community supported me to do it for 2 days a week. At the same time I completed my MSc dissertation and I had a lot of support from the research part of First Community.
From there I did an in-house leadership course and applied to be a clinical team leader. I needed more training an so I completed the Mary Seacole course with the NHS Leadership Academy. I was able to take the learning from the course and apply it straight to the job."
“First Community has a positive culture of learning and, because we are a small company, you get opportunities that you might not get elsewhere.
I started to think about transformation and I applied for a secondment in transformation across the company. This eventually became a permanent role. So I’m now continuing my learning journey, getting lots of exposure across the company about how to transform services for the benefit of patients.”
Adele is about to qualify as student nurse and is completing her management placement in First Community’s District Nursing Team.
Find out what she thinks about her experience.
Returning to study
“I started in the 0-19 Team at First Community as a Community Nursery Nurse. I had that job for 10 years before I decided to take the next step and do my nurse training.
First Community sponsored me and provided me with lots of support. I’ve met with them frequently to make sure I’m keeping up-to-date with my study.”
“Currently I’m on my final placement which is my management placement. It gets us used to the working life so we don’t have so much of a support system beneath us. I have a mentor and we discuss my caseload and I’m allowed to go out and about on my own.
When that first happened I was terrified but, now I’ve been doing that for 10 weeks, I’m used to it.”
Rising to the challenge
“Getting back into education has been tough but I have exceeded my expectations and am pleased that I have been doing so well. It’s been a really good process for me and I wish I had done it sooner.”
When I made the decision to do my nurse training I was gutted because I really liked my job and I loved the ethos of First Community.
We are not just a number, we are real people and we are listened to, cared for and nurtured. I’m really pleased to be staying on at First Community because I love what it means to me.”
For more information about current vacancies at First Community, contacts, and what it is like working at First Community, go to https://www.firstcommunityhealthcare.co.uk/work-us or contact the HR team at 01737 775450.
For an independent assessment of First Community read the CQC report: https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/AAAG4287.pdf