Faces of FuturU is a story series about our incredible team. We explore their motivations for joining, delve into the experiences they bring with them and understand a little more about what brings them joy at work.
Gail Mcadam is a SVQ (Scottish Vocational Qualification) trainer in health and social care, where she assesses carers throughout their apprenticeship. She has also been a qualified nurse for almost 40 years.
Can you tell us more about your background and what led you to FuturU?
I qualified as a nurse in 1986 and have worked in both hospitals and care homes for 37 years. For the past 10 years I’ve been an agency nurse at Newcross Healthcare, going into care homes when they are short staffed. I’ve also delivered training to carers and nurses across Scotland and the North of England, where I get to share my skills and experience with others.
After Covid-19 I decided to move into a slightly different area of health and social care, as I always enjoy taking on new challenges. I’m now a specialist SVQ assessor at FuturU, where I help apprentices gain the necessary qualifications to pursue a career in care. I love going out to do observations on people, whether that’s going into care homes or assisted living settings.
What training was available to you when you qualified?
I completed my nursing qualification at the School of Nursing & Midwifery in Kirkcaldy. The majority of our time was spent on placement in a hospital or out in the community. Fortunately, the course was fully funded by the Scottish government and I even got paid a wage. Sadly, student carers now have to take on a lot of debt to train, which isn’t sustainable and is putting people off what is an incredibly rewarding career.
What type of nursing have you done?
I’m a registered learning disability nurse and have experience as a lead nurse in complex care. I’ve worked in care homes with people with dementia, strokes, multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease. I’ve also worked in hospitals as a learning disability nurse, where I’ve supported younger adults and children with Down’s syndrome, on the autistic spectrum and with various genetic disorders.
What excites you most about FuturU?
I think it’s amazing that FuturU offers free training to nurses, and I hope that one day we’ll be able to offer a fully certified nursing degree that’s completely free and flexible to undertake. People don’t want to spend 3 or 4 years at university unpaid while having to take on another job. FuturU has the potential to get more people into nursing, while also giving people the freedom and flexibility to make it work around their commitments, such as family and children. Both the NHS and care homes are struggling to recruit people at the moment, so I think FuturU could make a huge difference.
How can nurses benefit from FuturU right now?
Regardless of how many years you’ve been in nursing, you’re always learning new things. I’ve been a nurse for almost 40 years and I regularly use FuturU’s courses to upskill myself and stay on top of my training. For example, I’d really recommend our dementia training to nurses. If you haven’t worked in a care home setting before, you may not know enough about dementia, so this is a great place to start.
FuturU has more than 100 courses online that are completely free to nurses, including tracheostomy, epilepsy seizure management, bowel care management and everything in between. We’re also making it possible to download all your certificates directly from the FuturU app and website, so that you have them on hand when you need them or change jobs.
How do you think technology can benefit nurses?
Technology has the potential to deliver more hands-on training in a way that was never previously possible. For example, FuturU is already using AI to make training a lot more immersive so that nurses can gain practical skills from the comfort of their own home, without needing to spend hours in a classroom. While technology won’t ever fully replace face-to-face learning, we’re already seeing some exciting developments that will massively improve the quality of learning.
Finally, what do you love most about being a nurse?
Even though I’ve been working as a nurse for a long time, there’s always something new to learn. I also love being able to pass on the skills I’ve learned to others, whether that’s through my role as a trainer or a SVQ assessor.