Meet Florence Star Award winner Megan [May ’24]

How long have you been working in health care?

I’ve been working in healthcare for around five years—since I turned 17. I was previously working as a waitress, but I was looking for a change.

My mum told me about how she worked as a chef in a care home when she was young. She told me stories about that time, how she loved it, and her wonderful memories of the residents. Then a job opening came up in a care home near me which I got. I then worked in a few different homes in my local area.

After that I moved to Brighton for my University studies. Since then I’ve worked for Florence to support the cost of my studies. I’m doing a degree in fine art and painting and then plan to do a masters degree in digital marketing afterwards.

Why did you join Florence?

I needed flexible work to fit around my course demands while I am studying. I’m the first person in my family to get a degree and I’m supporting myself financially. It works perfectly as I choose my hours which means I can fit shifts around my studies. I know people who have worked at agencies, but they are told to work certain hours and dictated to. It’s not like that at Florence.

I like how easy it is with Florence – there is no one ringing and hassling me. I love being able to contact the support team via the chat functionality. I love that I can do everything through the app, but I know there is someone on the end of the phone if I need them.

How did you move from elderly care into support work?

hadn’t really heard about support work before, but I saw there were roles available on the Florence app and applied. I had to take a couple of extra courses via their online Academy, which didn’t take long, and then I was able to apply for support work shifts. I’ve since been working one-on-one with a lovely young person who has faced mental health challenges.

Tell us more about the one-to-one support you’ve been providing

I’ve been working with them for about a year. They are such a wonderful kid. My role is to take them to the places and events they want to, and to support them in their interests. It’s quite a change to working in a care home.

I first met them at a book signing. They love creative writing, and right back from when they were first sectioned they’ve always written poems and stories. They said they wanted to put their writing into a book—it had always been a goal they wanted to achieve. So, me and another support worker encouraged them and facilitated this. For example, by taking them to the park to write. They’ve now written and published a book. It’s an amalgamation of their stories from their psychiatric ward days. It’s very much about their mental health. We are so proud of them. It’s amazing.

Megan is incredibly proud of her clients achieving their dream of writing a book. If you’d like to buy a copy of their book you can find a link to it here.

What makes you particularly proud of your client’s progress?

It’s been so good to see the stories and poems progress from desperation and depression, to see where they are now. It’s a really big moment to see how far they have come in their recovery.

“The 1-2-1 support Megan has been providing our service user has been fantastic; they are a different person now than they were 8 months ago. What’s more, with Megan’s support, they have been able to publish a book of poems—which is wonderful.”

Natasha, Safehouse Team

What is a myth about the healthcare sector you would like to change?

That it’s a really scary sector to work in. When I tell people I give personal care they think; I’d never be able to do that. The job is so much more than that – it’s about supporting people to live their best lives. It’s about being able to bring them to a level of equality. It’s a wonderful industry. I wish people knew more about support work too. It’s such a rewarding role.

What would you tell someone interested in working for Florence?

Go for it. You’ll have a lot of opportunities and experiences. I’d have never got into support work and in a learning difficulties care home if I’d not joined Florence. It’s opened the door to a lot of different areas in the care sector. I’ve come from a working-class background where sometimes opportunities can feel limited. The impact of working for Florence has been to make me realise I can do literally anything. And I can take on the challenges of working with so many different people.

“I’d say to someone thinking about trying Florence, or care work, that it’s normal to be unsure when you face new things, but believe in yourself. You’re more capable than you think.”

You may also be interested in:

– Meet Florence Star Award winner Brian [March ’24]

Meet Florence Star Award winner Joyce [Feb ’24]

– Meet Gresham Florence Star Award winner Gresham [Jan ‘ 24]

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