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Focus On: Serena, Care Coordinator

13 October, 2021

Each month, Focus Care spotlights one of our amazing Head Office staff, showcasing the work they do and helping you put a face to the name. Today we chatted to Serena, one of our Care Coordinators, and learnt all about their journey from Support Worker to Head Office staff member.

Thanks for sitting down with me, Serena! Welcome back to the office. Let’s start off with you telling me how you got to work in the industry.

Thanks for having me!

Wow, where do I even begin? Well, for starters, I come from a completely different industry background. I always worked in various customer service jobs, and of course, hospitality – the one rite of passage for Italians coming to Australia (laughs). I never had much career experience in the aged care and disability sector, but I do have a lot of personal experience. On my father’s side, my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s, so I witnessed that first-hand growing up. On my mother’s side, I grew up with a cousin that had various cognitive impairments. I have always been exposed to these types of things growing up, so I never saw it as a job. I still don’t.

Before joining Focus, I was looking for a career changed. I worked customer service in a company where I constantly had to sell products and try and upsell, which I hated. I liked interacting with humans, but I didn’t enjoy the selling aspect. I found an ad which showed that Focus Care was looking for Italian speaking Support Workers, so I applied, and I got the job. I felt like I was back at home! I initially only had Italian aged care clients, so it felt like I was helping people that were the exact same as my family. I know it sounds cliché, I know, but I really enjoy helping people. At the end of the day, I used to arrive home from my old job and think, how many people have I fooled today? Now, I come home from a day of work, and I think to myself, how many people have I helped today? It’s a beautiful change, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

 

That really is beautiful, Serena. If anything, it’s a testament to who you are as a person. Now that you’ve ventured on to a Head Office job, can you tell us more about that process? How did your job transform?

Well. I don’t even know what to say (laughs)! As much as I love Support Work, it is a very practical job. I am very, very clumsy. I’m not a practical person! An office job felt much more my speed, but I didn’t want to lose that element of helping people that I really cherish. I reached out to the HR department at Focus and wanted to see what they could do for me in terms of career pathways.

One week later, I got a call and they wanted to come in for an interview! Before I knew it, I got offered the role of Care Coordinator. It’s a very full-on role, but I already love it so much. I can’t even summarise it for you! Every single day is different – working with clients and Support Workers, conducting interviews, working on service schedules, and more. I absolutely love being able to keep the human interaction aspect of previous jobs, but in a field that allows me to help people so much more. I love going home knowing that the work I’m doing is making a genuine difference to people’s lives.

 

That’s such an interesting journey to get to where you are now! What do you enjoy the most about your current role?

I really like so much (laughs). I can’t even narrow it down for you! There’s too much to say.

I love being the missing link between Support Workers and Head Office staff. One of the more exciting parts of beginning this role was being able to finally meet all the amazing people behind Focus, those working in Head Office everyday.

I hate to sound so cliché (again), but every single day is just so different. I will try to plan ahead, but there will always be something different come up on the day. This job is very people dependent – you aren’t dealing with machines or products, it’s real people with their own lives which you help support as best you can. I feel like I have said this so much, but I really, really enjoy the human interaction aspect of this job. I love working with people, and with Focus, I can do that and help them at the same time.

 

It really is the best of both worlds. Thanks for the sneaky Head Office staff compliment too! Speaking of Head Office – what do you think you’re known for around the office?

I wouldn’t even know what to tell you! Because of COVID, I’ve only been in the office very few times. So little, in fact, that I’m sure some people in the office still refer to me as a Support Worker (laughs). I don’t mind though. If anything, I like feeling like a bit of a Support Worker representative in the office. It goes both ways – Support Workers aren’t very familiar with what goes on here, and vice versa. So I do like being known as the Support Worker-turned Head Office staff member! Like you said, I feel like I have the best of both worlds, and I’m very thankful for it.

 

It sounds like you really have found your calling! Let’s get company-specific now. What would you say is your favourite part about working at Focus Care?

I know I’ve answered this for every question, but there just is so much to say. The diversity, the culture… and honestly? The constant stimulation that comes from human interaction. No joke, I spent my entire weekend looking up master’s degrees that could help me further my work here. I’ve discovered parts of me that I didn’t know I had. I’ve discovered I have quite a nurturing nature, and am a lot more empathetic and understanding. When you find yourself in certain situations, and there is a living, breathing person in front of you that needs your help, you discover things about yourself that you didn’t know. I love the work I do here at Focus Care. I’m so glad I made the decision to hit that apply button, and I haven’t regretted a day since.

 

I’m so glad to hear that Focus has been able to do that for you. I know you’re super busy, so I’ll let you get back to what you have to do now. Thanks so much for taking the time to sit with me, Serena!

Not at all a problem! Thank you for listening to me ramble.

Congratulations to Serena for this month’s recognition. Check this space next month for our next Focus On Staff Highlight!

Focus Care is an approved provider of Home Care Packages, and a registered NDIS Service Provider. If you are looking for home care or disability support, contact us today to see how we can help.

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