Set in Surrey Heath, Gracewell of Camberley provides high quality residential, dementia and nursing care. The home, which has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care and Quality Commission (CQC), is led by Girlie Braga with the support of her outstanding team. To learn more about Girlie, we spoke to her about how she got into the social care sector and of her experiences at Gracewell of Camberley.
First, we asked Girlie about her path to becoming General Manager at Gracewell of Camberley.
Girlie said that becoming a nurse was her “childhood dream” as she always wanted to help people. She followed this passion to train as a nurse in the Philippines before qualifying when she was 21. After graduating, she moved to the UK to work in various nursing homes before eventually joining Gracewell of Camberley in 2014. Starting as a Registered General Nurse, Girlie progressed to become the Clinical Nurse Manager and then Deputy Manager. She was then promoted to General Manager in October 2019.
She says that she was first attracted to Gracewell of Camberley after hearing great things about the home, including how friendly the team were. Girlie said that she “really wanted to be part of an organisation that cared for their staff and their residents. On doing some research, Gracewell of Camberley ticked all of those boxes, so I decided to apply”.
Next, we asked her what she loves about being the General Manager at Gracewell of Camberley.
“Every day is different, and I love that! I also have the pleasure of supporting and working alongside colleagues who give the best possible care to our residents and I am so lucky to have a team that is always striving to be better."
“I’ve also had the opportunity to develop my skills as a nurse but also to learn and understand more about the business, marketing, HR and other areas, which has broadened my understanding and skills. I always had a passion for caring for others and I feel privileged to be able to be a part of a home that offers amazing care services for up to 90 residents.”
We then asked Girlie about her experiences as a General Manager during the lockdown and managing the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It has been challenging, scary and emotional but I am very proud to say we have stayed free of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. I owe so much thanks to the team, they remained calm throughout and always put our residents first. The residents are now able to see their families and it has been so lovely to be part of them being reunited, even if it’s still from a distance. I have found it a challenging time but also very rewarding, you really get a sense of how much a team can pull together when faced with adversity and I’ve truly seen what Gracewell of Camberley is capable of!”
Girlie then told us about her experience of the recruitment process at Gracewell Healthcare.
“It’s some time now since I was recruited, however I now get to be part of the recruitment process for my home and see it from another viewpoint. The company has a lot to offer for those looking for a career in care and the benefits speak for themselves. It’s no wonder that Gracewell Healthcare is an Employer of Choice when you get to come into a five-star building every day and work with a second family and have the facilities and means to provide five-star care.”
We then asked Girlie what advice she would give to budding care home managers.
“Get involved! Learn as much as you can about all of the care home departments. We are all one team and the home cannot function without everyone, you need to learn as much as you can about each role so that you can respect every part of everyone’s day to day tasks. We spend a huge part of our lives at work so it is important that we strive for people to be happy and content, forever giving them the opportunity to learn and grow. If you can be part of a team and then learn to lead that team, I think you’re on the right track for success.”
Finally, we asked Girlie what her future aspirations are for Gracewell of Camberley.
“My goal is to be able to continue to maintain our CQC Outstanding rating as this in itself will be a huge achievement. I hope this will continue for many years to come.”
For more information about Gracewell of Camberley, please click here.