We talk to Alison Robertson, Clinical Development Manager, who recruits, inducts and trains overseas nurses for Sanctuary Care.
Alison always wanted to be a nurse and as a little girl had a nurse’s uniform and would try and take the temperature of her dolls. Now, she helps other young people achieve their dreams of becoming a nurse.
Growing up Alison’s neighbour secured her voluntary work at the local hospital where she worked, giving her a chance to find out what it was really like. After completing her A-Levels, she trained to be a nurse at The Royal London Hospital.
Alison recalls how different training in 1981 was compared with today. She would spend three months on the wards, have two weeks of theory-based work in the classroom at the school of nursing and then go back to the wards for another three months. This type of intensive process meant she was learning using real life patients. She says the technology now has improved so much that student nurses have far more training equipment at their disposal.
Starting her nursing career in an NHS hospital Alison got married, but found it difficult to juggle inconsistent hospital shifts with life as a young mother. She started working in a care home with another provider where she became a deputy manager.
When her daughter started secondary school Alison could re-think her career and decided to join Sanctuary Care in 2001 as a home manager, before becoming a care development manager in 2011.
She is now responsible for the recruitment and training of Sanctuary Care’s overseas nurses, from places like The Philippines, Botswana, South Africa and Europe.
“Travelling there to meet them is very humbling, you hear incredible stories. One lady travelled for 24 hours just for our interview,” she says.
Alison recalls stories her student nurses tell her, about delivering babies with no medical equipment, dealing with snake bite attacks and the distances some of them travel for a chance to study in the UK.
Alison really enjoys training new nurses. She explains how she has gone back to basics and teaching clinical skills to these young nurses reminds her why she got into nursing in the first place.