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23 Feb 2023

Spotlight on Beverley Grimes, Care manager, Middlesbrough Grange

Spotlight on Beverley Grimes, Care manager, Middlesbrough Grange

With 44 years’ experience in healthcare, and having spent the past 24 years managing care homes, Bev will be the first manager of Anchor’s Skelton Court Care Home, opening in March 2023.

Tell me about your career so far

Gosh, it goes back a long way! When I left school at 16, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but my older sister was a nurse in Essex and said, why don’t you come here and try nursing. So I moved to Essex and started as an auxiliary nurse when I was 18.

I nearly didn’t make it very far, because after 6 weeks of being on an elderly ward, I saw my first deceased person. I’d always been protected from things like that as a child, so I found it really upsetting. I said to my sister, “right that’s it, I’m finished, I’m going home”, and she said, “well go on then, off you go”. And I thought, “I’ll show you!” And nearly 45 years later, I’m still here.

I did three years as an auxiliary nurse, then I moved on to do my training so I was a state-enrolled nurse for a while. Then I moved back home to the north-east and did my conversion course to a Registered Mental Nurse (RMN) at a hospital in Middlesborough.

I worked for the NHS for 17 and a half years, and then I moved into the private sector as a nurse on night shift. Then after that, the manager left, so I went onto days and I was offered the manager’s position, which was a bit scary really! It’s not something I thought I would ever do.

So you hadn’t aspired to become a manager?

No, never – when I became a qualified nurse, I thought I’d stay in the NHS forever. Once I moved into the private sector, I was offered the position as deputy and then thought, maybe I would – but I didn’t think it would be as quick as it was. I was only in my late 30s and I used to get relatives coming in saying, “you’re far too young to be a manager!”

What made you move from the NHS into the private sector?

At the time, I was a single parent, and my mam had been very poorly so I needed to stay on night shifts. Unfortunately the NHS wanted me to go back on days, and I didn’t have anyone to take my son to school. I was already doing bank work at a care home, and they offered me full-time hours, so I went there on nights – then as my circumstances changed, I was able to go onto days.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I love working with elderly people, always have. I find them so interesting. You sit down and reminisce about the past, and they get their photographs out – I just love looking at old photographs.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

Becoming a nurse, really – and then becoming a manager. At 16, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I never thought I could do it; thought I wasn’t good enough, didn’t have the brains to do it. But my sister always said, if you push yourself hard enough, you can do anything. And she was right.

What have you learned in your time working in care?

Hundreds of things! How important people are, and how important it is to give them the right care.

How do you feel about the way care homes are viewed by the media and the public?

People used to get the wrong idea about care homes; they got tainted with the wrong brush. But I would say 99% of care homes are marvellous, they really are. You can’t believe everything you hear on the news; it’s not true. The majority of them are wonderful. But the media focuses on the good things now more than they used to – [the sector] gets a lot of good press.

How do you unwind at the end of a busy day?

I love animals and have two little dogs and one cat who’s 17 – we lost one recently. I’ve had a rabbit as well! I go home, and I’ve got my husband and my boys, my grandchildren – I love to spend time with them. And we have a motorhome so on the weekends we’ll go away and take the dogs. We’ve had one for about 20-odd years; it’s brilliant. It’s like your own hotel on wheels!

What would you like to ask other care managers?

How did you come to get into management? I started as a qualified nurse, but we have people who come in and do their NVQ, and I push the staff to climb the ladder because I think it’s important. I say to them, “one day you could be doing my job” – even without doing a nursing qualification, the NVQs they do now are very good. So, what sort of qualifications and training have other managers done?


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