My Cornerstone Experience: Hannah Reynolds22 Aug 2019
Notebook? Check. Coffee? Check. I was raring to go. I scanned the training room and nerves started to bubble as I noticed I was the only office based member of staff present.
Can I do this? Being a primarily office based member of staff for a third sector organisation like Cornerstone can often feel like you work backstage on the set of your favourite show. When I do get the chance to spend time in our support services it’s hard to wipe the smile from my cheeks. You hear and see some of the most amazing things. There’s even been times where I have questioned if I had taken the right career path studying a business based qualification and not social care.
I’m always on the lookout for ways to further my learning around care and support and this is when ‘My Cornerstone Experience (MCE)’ caught my eye. MCE is Cornerstone’s new quality assurance process which centres on the principles of the Health and Social Care Standards. I received an email detailing dates that our quality team would be training up evaluators. I felt unsure, could somebody like me who had little knowledge of the practicalities of care be a candidate for this type of training? The more I thought about it, I started to see it as an opportunity to widen my skill set and further my knowledge. Before I knew it, I was signed up and the evaluator training day was just around the corner.
Notebook? Check. Coffee? Check. I was raring to go. I scanned the training room and nerves started to bubble as I noticed I was the only office based member of staff present. Hilary and Catriona from the quality improvement team took us through the ins and outs of the MCE process – what would be expected, their experiences and next steps. It was question and answer time. I swithered over the question I’d pencilled down on scrap piece of paper. “Do you think I’m capable of doing this, you know, I’ve never been a Support Worker and I don’t want to get it wrong?” The words spilled from my mouth. I was then met with roars of positivity both from the quality team and my other colleagues in the room – “Of course you can! This a new process for everyone, we’re here to help you every step of the way.”
I left the training day feeling motivated and excited, less than two weeks later I had arranged my first MCE at one of our Aberdeenshire care homes. I spent three inspiring days observing a person we support. I was given the opportunity to learn all about them, the care they receive and even join in at their weekly crafts club. My Cornerstone Experience focusses on an individual’s experience of receiving support from Cornerstone and is used to find ways we can continually improve. Focussing on the five Health and Social Care Standards, I sat down and wrote up my full report on what the team were doing well and what could be done even better ensuring the person we support is living a valued life.
Two MCE evaluations later and I couldn’t be happier that I put aside my uncertainties and trained to be an evaluator. Seeing first hand some of the amazing things our team members do to ensure the people we support are getting the very best care has been incredible. I’ve learnt a lot about the quality provision and high standards Cornerstone set for their services. I no longer feel as if I’m working backstage, I’m on set and in the bigger picture.