Outgoing Clinical Manager Tracey Dunn received no less than six emotional farewells from her ‘work family’ and residents during an emotional final week at Bob Owens.
The village really went all out to show their appreciation for their favourite Geordie before she embarks on the next exciting chapter of her Ryman Healthcare career – now as Village Manager at Bert Sutcliffe village in Birkenhead.
There was no shortage of tears, but also plenty of giggles and laughter as the team and residents sang, danced and gave speeches dedicated to Tracey to let her know what she meant to them all.
At her final full facility meeting, the team created a throne and crowned her the Queen with Village Manager Brian Bark admitting it had been hard to hold back the tears as he paid tribute to her once again.
“You have been nothing but diligent, dedicated and dependable. You have shown care and kindness, and your warm, friendly nature and empathetic listening skills are what make you such a great leader.
Bob Owens Clinical Manager Tracey Dunn is honoured with a crown and a throne (plus a footstool!) from the village team, while Village Manager Brian Bark led the speeches.
“Anyone can be a manager but being a good leader and influencing someone is a very special skill,” Brian said.
Tracey left her family and friends in Newcastle, England and her role on a busy A&E ward to join her sister in Tauranga seven and a half years ago, ready for a new challenge work-wise.
“In A&E you see a snapshot of someone’s life for a few hours, in a critical illness situation or injury. You establish a relationship, but you move onto the next one in a short space of time so you don’t get that bond with the families.
“Here, you truly get to follow someone’s journey. It’s about the relationships and building up trust with people. And you get to know people so well. I love what I do.”
She quickly moved from Resthome Unit Coordinator to Clinical Manager within four months and soon the village was reaping the rewards.
Bob Owens achieved its first ever four year certification under her watch and, as recognition for the way she stepped up as Acting Village Manager during the pandemic, Tracey was nominated for Leader of the Year in the Ryman awards.
“I just kicked into full on action mode I think,” says ever-humble Tracey. “I think my major incident training and emergency preparations all kicked in and helped me to stay calm and in control – even though I didn’t always feel that way!”
Bob Owens also took out the Village of the Year award that same year, with Tracey’s role in the win undeniable.
There were tears at Tracey's emotional send-off, but there was plenty of laughter too.
Tracey is quick to credit the team around her, saying: “You can’t win these awards on your own, it’s always a team effort.”
And the village certainly went all out to show Tracey some major love last week, with a huge turnout of independent residents one of the highlights.
The overarching theme that came out of everyone’s tributes was her fun-loving personality and infectious laugh, but also her incredible empathy and listening skills which have the effect of making all those who meet her feel special and valued.
“It has been a rollercoaster of emotions this week. I have been truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and appreciation I have received,” Tracey told the team.
“The last 7.5 years have been some of the best years of my life. We have shared so many special moments together and I have had the absolute honour of leading, guiding and supporting you through some of our toughest times and that is something that I will always cherish.”
While there will always be a Bob Owens-shaped space in her heart, Tracey is now looking forward to meeting and getting to know her new work family at Birkenhead’s Bert Sutcliffe village.
“I have heard so many wonderful things about Bert Sutcliffe and the wonderful team of staff and residents there and I can’t wait to meet everyone in person.
“As always, I remain committed to maintaining Ryman standards and leading the team to continue providing the best standard of care and services to our residents.”