‘Without FuturU, I’d be really lost’: Demelza’s story

A photo of Demelza holding her dog Lulu in her arms in front of a shop with a tree covered in pink blossom and multi-coloured blossom overhead.

We spoke to Demelza, 57, a healthcare professional based in Cornwall, about why she joined the sector, the rewarding nature of her work, and her goals for the future.

How did you get into healthcare?

I started working in healthcare about 10 months ago after losing my mum. My sister has always worked in the NHS and when we were in hospital with my mum, she could see I loved helping everybody and suggested I explore it further. I’m not doing masses of hours at the moment as I also run an art gallery, but the job is so rewarding and I absolutely love it. Sometimes it’s challenging, but I always want to go in and make my clients’ day better.

What type of support do you provide your clients with?

I work for a healthcare agency, so the work is quite varied. When I first started out, I was mainly supporting people who’d just come out of hospital. It was really rewarding because you’d go from supporting someone who was completely hospitalised to getting them up and out of bed, walking around, independent again, cooking for themselves and doing a little bit of exercise. That was really rewarding but it was taking me quite a long way from my home. 

I’m now working in my local community providing one to one care to people. I’ve got one client in his late 50s with a brain injury, so we’re really working on getting him back to normality. Sometimes my dog Lulu comes with me and that gives my client something to look forward to. I also support another lady from Mencap who met my dog last week. She just loved him. Lulu is very gentle and my clients seem to really like her. It’s nice for them to stroke her and talk to her. She’s also able to detect if anyone is going to have a epileptic fit before they do, as well as being great for people’s mental health.

A photo of Demelza and her dog Lulu

What’s been your experience of FuturU?

I’ve been in the art world for 30 years so I felt like my brain was beginning to slow down a bit. By doing FuturU’s training courses, I’ve learned so much. I feel like my brain’s woken up again, and I’ve got a lot to give people.

Without the courses, I’d be really lost. I like that all the training is online and accessible, and I’m not having to drive anywhere to attend a training session. You can be so interactive with the course, and fit it around your schedule. 

Why is training so important to you?

For me, it’s absolutely essential I had this training. My superiors don’t really have time to train me personally so FuturU’s courses have been really beneficial, especially in moving and handling, and administering medication. I’m grateful that the courses are free, as I wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise. You can’t go into this job without training, otherwise big mistakes would be made. 

Even though they’re not part of the necessary training I need to do to support my clients, there are also lots of other courses I’m planning to do with FuturU. You’ve got to be hungry for training if you want to progress in your role and avoid being at a standstill. 

What would you say to someone considering a career in healthcare?

You have to be very mentally strong to work in healthcare, as it does test you. It’s full on, you never know what situation you’ll find yourself in and you have to be able to adjust! You’re suddenly faced with lots of situations you can’t plan for – especially if you’re working in the community and you’re alone with one client. You have to make quick decisions on what to do, how to behave, and be very alert. I’d say definitely go for it as it’s so rewarding, but be prepared for what it’s going to throw at you.

How do you prioritise your wellbeing after a long shift?

I do a 14 hour shift every Monday and Friday. It takes me an hour to drive to and from work so I’ll listen to music or something on the radio. I don’t get home till 1am but I’ll make myself a cup of tea when I get in, which helps me unwind. 

I also love swimming in the sea – it’s my time out. I’ve swum in the sea since I was three years old and I’ll go in every day. I don’t stay in long but I find it really sorts my head out. I’ve even got my boss to start swimming with me! 

What are your future goals?

Since working in healthcare, my whole world has opened up and I definitely want to start channelling it into different routes. There are so many areas that I’m fascinated with and it’s opened my eyes to different lifestyles, different people, health problems and health issues. One area I’m particularly interested in is positive wellbeing and healthy eating. There’s so much obesity and type 2 diabetes in England and I want to make a difference to people’s day, like getting them out walking and looking on the brighter side of life. 

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