Daniel Rowark, general manager of Hallmark’s first ‘outstanding’ care home, Bucklesham Grange, shares his recipe for high quality care.
How did you join Hallmark?
I worked for another care provider for 14 years prior to joining Hallmark Care Homes. I started my journey in health and social care spending a week of work experience in a care home before being offered a permanent weekend role as a care assistant whilst at college. I originally started a degree in English at university but it was clear to all that I should be a nurse. My first role as a nurse was in the very same care home that I started at as a care assistant and from there I progressed to head of a 40 bed nursing community before moving to the south for a commissioning deputy manager role. I recall the experience of being a care assistant as one of great privilege; I was able to meet and care for people who had lived the most incredible lives and since this time it has always been my passion to give back by providing the highest standards of care. Once I moved to the south I discovered Hallmark Care Homes and their vision “to be recognised as the leading provider of high quality relationship-centred care” resonated strongly with my own values and beliefs. An opportunity for a clinical care manager became available at Bucklesham Grange in Ipswich and I applied without hesitation.
What is special about Hallmark?
At times throughout my career my values and beliefs for leadership and care have been seen as idealistic, I was even told “not to aim too high, that will never happen in the world of social care”. After my first week of joining Hallmark Care Homes it was clear that ideas and innovation were not only embraced but are actively encouraged. There are no limits to the quality of care that we can provide, once achieving and exceeding standards we then strive for the next and throughout my career that is what I always intend to do.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
There are rewarding moments every day working at Bucklesham Grange. When challenges arise, I simply visit the communities to spend time with residents and team members. Understanding the intricacies, recognising when someone needs a hug, a chat or simply an ear to listen and knowing that I am the person they feel comfortable to do that with is reward enough for the job I do.
What has been your proudest moment?
There are truly so many! The last CQC inspection at Bucklesham Grange was an experience I hope to see again, seeing team members, residents and relatives lining up to meet the inspectors and share with them all of the amazing things we do here was beyond outstanding and I could not be more proud. I imagine my proudest moment is to come at the end of this year, however. I have been invited to attend the graduation of two apprentice care assistants from the north I used to work with who have recently completed their nursing degrees.
What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
There have been challenges throughout my career no matter what role, however, outstanding is not about doing everything right, it is how we respond and learn when challenges arise. Being the general manager of an outstanding care home is certainly interesting, as a team we are constantly challenging ourselves to achieve more, to continue to innovate and to exceed our own expectations. There are moments when we encourage each other to stop, to reflect and to share before moving forwards on to the next stage of our journey.
Tell us three things you need to provide great care?
An engaged and happy team; an open and transparent relationship with residents, their loved ones and professionals; to never stop striving to achieve more.
How do you relax?
I have friends and family around the country and I try to visit them as much as possible. I have recently started indoor rock climbing and after completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge for The Care Worker’s Charity this year, I am looking forward to new challenges in the year to come.
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