July Pili is an experienced nurse who has worked in a range of acute hospital settings, from obstetrics, to medical and surgical wards.
But since moving to New Zealand six years ago, the recently appointed Resthome Unit Coordinator at Edmund Hillary Retirement Village has made a deliberate choice to work in the aged care sector.
“Where I’m from in the Philippines, aged care facilities are not common so I had only worked in acute hospital settings, and for five years as a nurse instructor, before moving here,” says July.
Both July and her husband started out working as caregivers on the North Shore with them both falling in love with the work.
“At first I thought it would be a really tough job, but actually there is so much that I love about it I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.”
July says it is the relationships she forms that make all the difference.
“I enjoy interacting with the residents and listening to their stories.
“Sometimes the residents may have cognitive impairment so if they remember a little detail like my children’s names for instance it is a really special feeling, the way I describe it is it gives me a tickle in my heart!”
Since starting at Ryman Healthcare’s Remuera village in November, July has dedicated herself to getting to know her residents and earning their trust, and appreciates the fact she is supported in doing this.
“It is important to work with compassion, to spend time talking to the residents to show them you are there to assist them and understand any issues they may have.
“I love to be on the floor checking on my residents every day and seeing how they are.
“As well as forming relationships with them, it gives me the reassurance that my residents are safe and comfortable and okay.”
It is important to gain the trust of their relatives too, with them often needing reassurance that their loved ones are being cared for to a high standard.
“I believe it is important to promote independence as much as possible, to encourage strong self-worth in our residents.
“As long as they are safe and comfortable they have the right to do whatever they want, and we are there to assist where needed.
“This is why we need that time to get to know our residents really well, to best understand their needs.”
This is something that Ryman values too, July says, summed up in their philosophy of always delivering care that is ‘good enough for mum and dad’.
“The number one thing I have noticed is the support – we have a really good support system at Ryman.
“We have a really helpful communication platform called ChattR, where you can message anyone, from the top to the bottom, and knowing that there are members of the Ryman team there if you have any questions or concerns is really reassuring.”
She adds: “I also have a very strong team, every one of them is kind and lovely, and very accommodating and approachable, and the management team in particular are appreciative of what we do and always there to help you if there’s anything you need to work better.”
July says when she did a week’s orientation at Ryman’s sister village Grace Joel, she immediately noticed that many staff members had worked there for 10 years or even longer.
“I thought then there is a reason why the staff are working there for so long, it means Ryman is a good employer.
“I saw at Grace Joel how appreciative the team is of Ryman and it’s the same here at Edmund Hillary too.
“And if the team feels happy and looked after, they can look after their residents better too!”