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Apprenticeship brings out a passion for caring

apprentice Gelana Henry

It wasn’t job opportunities that brought Gelana Henry to the UK from Jamaica three years ago. Gelana’s mum was taken ill and so she made the decision to come over to Birmingham to care for her. 

Sadly, Gelana mum passed away, but Gelana wanted to stay in the UK to be close to her mum’s family, and so she started job-hunting.

After trying several jobs in retail, Gelana realised she needed to look closer to home to find her passion. She said: “I thought about my mum, who had worked in an admin role at City Hospital and loved being part of a team, and working with patients. I liked the idea of that.”

The Job Centre referred Gelana to Pertemps job agency, who encouraged her to apply for an NHS apprenticeship in business administration. When an administration apprenticeship with a district nursing team at Birmingham Community Healthcare came up, she realised it was meant to be.

“The district nurses had taken such good care of my mum, so I knew instantly that I had to go for it,” said Gelana.

Gelana was successfully appointed to the role last summer. She spends four days a week working with the team, and one day a week in college, where she is working towards her certificate in business administration.

Gelena said: “Administration was what I wanted to do all along, but I was worried about my English. Having only moved here three years ago, I thought people wouldn’t be able to understand me, but I haven’t had that problem. Speaking to patients and GPs on the phone as much as I do has increased my confidence.”

While the team is out and about providing clinical care to patients in their own homes, back at base Gelana takes calls from GPs referring into the service, arranges patient appointments and updates information on the patient administration system. She has also trained in minute-taking, excel and medical terminology.

Rupinder Chal, district nurse team leader said: “I applied to have an apprentice admin with the team as I felt it was an excellent way of sharing all the knowledge and experience in our team with someone that wants to enhance their career in the NHS.

“Gelana managed to fit into the team immediately. It has been great to see her confidence develop and she has been able to have interaction with other health professionals and service users in a safe, supervised environment.”

Working with patients and clinicians has had a positive effect on Gelana, who is now considering a career in the caring profession. “I am not keen on blood, but I like the caring aspects of nursing and the interaction with patients, so I am thinking about doing a qualification in social care, so that I can become a healthcare assistant.”

For more information on National Apprenticeship Week Click here. 

If you are interested in an apprenticeship with Birmingham Community Healthcare contact 0121 466 6341.