Originally printed in the Daily Post, Rotorua Bay of Plenty
The moment Ciska McGrath stepped into the special care centre at Ryman Healthcare's Bob Owens Retirement Village she knew she wanted to work there.
"Right there, I could feel the vibe. Just walking into the place, I looked at the staff and they were happy, I looked at the residents and they were smiling and well cared for. I could sense the pride the team had working here and that really impressed me."
After training as a registered nurse, Ciska spent 12 years working with older people in the community and was looking for a new challenge. She jumped at the chance when offered the role of special care unit coordinator at Bob Owens.
"The team here and the Ryman philosophy that care has to be good enough for Mum really connects closely to me.
"It connects to my belief system and my morals and everyone works really hard to maintain that standard and that kindness, not just to the residents but to other staff as well.
"Having such a supportive and respectful work environment is why we are able to provide such excellent care on a consistent basis, and it's something we take really seriously.
"The energy in this unit is pretty amazing. We have social events here each week where we often dance and we love it.
"The residents love it too and you can see their faces light up. We have a guy who comes up and sings and he absorbs that energy because he can see everyone enjoying it and the staff will have a little dance with the residents and there's that closeness. It is amazing."
Ciska says she is so glad to work in an environment that enables you to spend time with the residents.
"In other places I've worked it was more about ticking off tasks whereas here they encourage spending that time.
"It's important to sit down with the person and help them, say if they're upset, and all they might need is a cup of tea or someone just to hold their hand and it's really rewarding to be able to do that.
"Sometimes when I drive home I'm on a high because I've left for the day knowing that I've made a difference, either by making someone smile or spending time with someone or just watching the team work together, it's really satisfying.
"I just love coming to work!"
After seven months in the role, Ciska says she can't imagine working anywhere else now.
"I find it a privilege to work here and to have a team that really, really cares about the residents.
"They always work so hard and put in such a huge amount of time and effort planning special events and celebrations to create moments of joy for our residents, and the feedback we get from the families is proof of that.
"In my role here I don't go home doubting, when you genuinely care you know you're doing the right thing."