My name is Gary Docherty and I am the Consultant Nurse for Scotland within Danshell. Here is a bit about my day to day life, the challenges affecting my role and what I love most about what I do.
A Typical Day
As a Consultant Nurse, I support the teams in our five Scottish services, providing clinical support, advice and boosting morale. I have such a variety of responsibilities, which means there is no such thing as a typical day for me. I stay in contact with each of the services at all times, visiting them as often as possible to work alongside the staff teams, discussing and implementing practises that are safe, sound and supportive. I also liaise with learning disability nurse groups and organisations on a regular basis to ensure we are learning from best practice for supporting people living with a learning disability in the UK.
Challenges Currently Affecting My Role
The people we support have very complex needs, which our teams continually work to support every day. Our challenge lies in ensuring people are always on the pathway from being supported in a hospital setting, moving towards living independently within the community.
Another challenge I work to reduce is in recruiting the best teams to support people to achieve this positive movement along their care pathway. The sector as a whole is facing this challenge, but we are meeting it head on, working hard to ensure we invest in this clinical support so that the outcomes of the people we support are improved.
I personally believe that some of the best nurses in the UK are already working for us, so to support them we need to ensure we do everything we can to find and recruit the best new and existing nurses available, who will eventually follow in these fantastic individuals’ footsteps.
A great example of how recruiting amazing staff can affect people’s lives is in Trinity House, which is a care home with nursing that I support in Lockerbie. The previous provider at Trinity House didn’t support people in the most person-centred way and there was a negative attitude amongst the staff team. We brought in an incredible Manager and Deputy Manager who completely turned the service around.
As part of our model of care, Personal PATHS, they introduced a Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) approach and worked hard to change the culture to be focused on supporting people in a positive, personalised way. The team now involve the people they support in developing their own vision of what they want their care to be. The culture at the service has now changed immensely to reflect best practice.
I am so proud of the team for working so hard to make positive changes and it was great to support them during this time. All our hard work was recognised when the Trinity House team won the ‘Innovative practice in supporting people with intellectual disabilities through Positive Behaviour Support’ award at the British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) PBS Leadership Awards 2017.
What do I love about what I do?
The interactions I have between my colleagues and those we support is very important to me. It is great that despite the fact we are a big company, the community spirit amongst the regions, especially in each of the services, is brilliant – everyone gets to know everyone. All levels of staff feel comfortable talking to me, which means I get to know all the great people I work alongside.
I know I’m doing my job right when the teams I support tell me they feel confident in their role and strive to achieve more. The best feeling is knowing that my input ensures the people we support can have the best quality of life, with the most choice and independence possible.