It’s been an epic journey for Anna Pochron, the recently appointed Special Care Unit Coordinator at Edmund Hillary Retirement Village.
Having overcome considerable pandemic hurdles to travel from the UK to work at Ryman Healthcare’s Remuera village, even spending Christmas on her own in MIQ, Anna shakes her head in disbelief as she reflects on how it all came about.
“I was emailed by a recruitment agency back in December 2018 saying they were looking for nurses in Auckland.
“My partner said there’s nothing holding us back, so that’s how my journey started. I started doing interviews and registering with the New Zealand Council for a visa and then Covid came so that delayed everything for me.”
Anna had trained in nursing in both the UK and her native Poland, where she was brought up by her grandmother, or Babcia, who she credits for influencing the direction her career has taken.
“My mum worked and I was raised by my Grandma and I think that’s why I have always loved being with older people.”
Anna worked in aged care in nursing homes in the UK for more than 10 years including management roles.
“I find it really rewarding and have always been drawn to older people in my work.”
She also spent three years working for the Department of Work and Pensions where her role was to assess people for disabilities-based benefits.
All this has added up to be great experience for her work at Edmund Hillary where she has slotted in straightaway.
“I felt really at ease when I met Dean the village manager and Ashleigh the clinical manager face to face and I settled right in.”
The appeal of starting an exciting new life and working for a company like Ryman was too good to ignore and it was great to finally see it become a reality.
She was immediately impressed by the way Ryman’s core values of kindness and empathy permeate through every part of the village.
“I see it in the interactions with our residents at all levels. That kindness and empathy carries through with the residents and the team as well.
“What strikes me most is that idea of is it good enough for mum or dad and I think that’s what we should all ask when we work in a place like this.
“If I wouldn’t want my mum to live here then why should I expect anyone else to live here?”
Anna started off as a Registered Nurse in the hospital unit before being promoted and transferring to this latest role, where she oversees a team of people caring for residents with cognitive impairment caused by dementia.
“We create a homely atmosphere and encourage our residents to feel useful and to feel valued.”
Even the design of the unit has been thoughtfully done, she says.
“I like the fact that it’s an open unit and people can walk around. There are no corners or locked doors and that makes a massive difference to our residents.”
Having a greater understanding of the challenges faced by people living with dementia is something Ryman puts huge emphasis on, and Anna likes the fact that team members are given specific dementia training.
“It’s not just about helping people with their personal cares or helping them to eat at meal times.
“It’s about knowing that person and helping them to enjoy the best quality of life possible and overcoming the challenges they face.
“That’s what gives me a little extra boost, when I have found a solution and a way to help that person, I find that so rewarding.”