By PSS | Posted: Tuesday December 22, 2020
New Enliven Director Carol Riddle is passionate about her job. It is clear in the way she speaks about the people she works with, the residents in the care homes, and the experiences she has had, not only in this position, but in the many others she has held within the organisation.
Carol stepped into the Director role earlier this year. While taking on a new role is never without its challenges, a global pandemic certainly wasn’t something she was counting on.
Despite the challenges the pandemic brought – not least being the difficulty securing nursing staff due to travel and border restrictions, she has relished the opportunities to bring her knowledge and experience to the role.
Carol started as an enrolled nurse with Presbyterian Support Southland in Gore in 2000 at Resthaven Village. When a dementia unit was opened in the town she became the team leader there, working in the space for about eight years. But it was a challenge from her manager to become a registered nurse, while suggesting how things could be done better, that prompted her to complete her nursing degree.
“It was the best advice I’ve ever been given.”
Since then, she has continued to work for Presbyterian Support in a range of positions, including as an assessor for care workers, clinical coordinator at Vickery Court, and then further through the ranks.
“It just shows there are real pathways.”
Her passion is empowering and supporting nurses to take their careers as far as they can.
“I feel I am a good example of that. If you are committed and you believe in what you do, you can really make a difference.”
Nursing provided some excellent career pathways and it was important her staff knew that, she said.
“I am immeasurably proud of the nurses that have been under my watch that are now starting in management positions."
While empowering nurses was one of her main drivers, she also loved working in the aged care sector.
“Aged care is an amazing area to be involved in. Residents have complex medical needs that are no longer managed by the hospital. The acuity of care requires nurses to be really resilient and really on to it with their assessments.”
Having an understanding of the aged care sector at every level helped her immensely when it came to the challenges her staff faced.
“I don’t ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn’t do.”
She admits she still has a lot to learn about her new role, but it is a challenge she is relishing.
“The message moving forward is we need to understand that the people that we care for, this is their home. We need to respect that and make it the best we can…I just hope that I can do the job justice.”