"I want to provide the best possible care"

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Emily Pimm, Deputy Care Home Manager at St Monica Trust’s John Wills House in Bristol

Meet Emily Pimm, a passionate and committed Deputy Care Home Manager at the St Monica Trust’s John Wills House in Bristol.

This summer, Emily began a FNF Scholarship, which is being generously sponsored by the Captain Sir Tom Foundation. The Scholarship will offer Emily some incredible leadership development opportunities which are aligned with her ambition of providing the best possible care for older people living with dementia.

Emily is undertaking a Quality Improvement Project which is focused on improving the wellbeing of care home residents, who have experienced increased loneliness and social isolation because of the pandemic. Here is Emily in her own words, talking about her inspiration and ambitions as well as her hopes for older people.

What first drew you into nursing?

“When I was 17, my dad had cancer and throughout his treatment I would be hounding the nurses, asking them lots of questions. I wanted to understand more, and seeing the amazing treatment that my dad had, I was really keen to start nursing as my career.”

Are there issues around people not applying to work in care homes?

“I think there’s a bit of a stigma within nursing. There’s lots of exciting areas of care that people want to explore: critical care, emergency care. But you can make social care what you want it to be and what you want it to be for the people who live there. It doesn’t have to be mundane situations. It can be a really challenging environment if you get it right. It can be such a happy and fulfilling career if you are supported.”

What’s your typical working day?

“I’ve done a John Wills House Flower Show for the Chelsea Flower Show. We had minibus trips and all our residents went to the garden centre to buy their flowers. They’re planting seeds because they want to take ownership in their garden and have fresh produce that they can forage for their meals. We’ve got music and movement, we’ve got people coming in to do a show, we’ve got music, quizzes. People living in a care home should not be isolated. They want to be part of a community and valued. They should be able to go out and buy fish for their fish tank and buy flowers for their garden, because it’s something you and I would do. It’s their home so they should be able to do it. That’s very much our philosophy. I’ve got a very inspirational manager, Wendy, who has a very similar passion to me. She encourages us to listen: what is it that the residents want? Don’t think about what we want. They residents hold meetings and tell us what they want to do. It’s a lovely working environment for nurses.”

What was your motivation for applying for a FNF scholarship?

“My friend is a FNF scholar and I was airing my views about the government’s restrictions on care homes. I was trying to understand how I could help people understand what the impact is. She was saying how fantastic the opportunities have been for her with FNF; she’s been able to increase awareness about her speciality. That inspired me to research FNF. I felt it would give me a really good opportunity to develop my leadership and presenting skills as well.”

What excites you about the scholarship?

“Being able to evidence the information that I want to gather through my Quality Improvement Project. And how I can use that information to make a difference, to inform those who are making decisions to close a home and consider what that means for the people living in the home. I’m excited to be a voice for people who have been shut off from so many things. If there is a COVID case within the care home, whether it’s contracted inside or outside, the home is then shut. And that restricts visiting, communal activities; residents have to stay in their rooms. You can be with other people in a care home and still be very, very lonely. We need to make sure you’re safe. But when you’re isolated in your room – and that was what people were experiencing a lot during the pandemic – you can actually manifest things that may not be happening. I think there’s so much more that can be done.”

What is your vision?

“My own personal view is that residents be given the choice as to whether they would like to adhere to government guidance in terms of isolation, and be able to make this information-based decision themselves. Given that they are having all the vaccines, they should be able to make that decision. And to see more of an understanding from governing bodies around what that impact could be within those restrictions, amend them to reflect what people are going through. If they are reaching their end of life and they’ve got a really special event coming up that they’d like to go to, let’s make it happen.”


Follow St Monica Trust on Twitter at  @St_Monica_Trust

FNF Scholarships are open for applications until 21 October 2022. If you would like to find out more about applying, click here.