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Agency Nursing & Mental Health

Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness week here in the UK. As a healthcare recruitment agency, we have the pleasure of working with dozens of extraordinary healthcare professionals every day. From A&E and ITU Nurses, to ODPs and RMNs, the Bluestones Medical Marvels are second to none. However, from working in the industry and speaking to our healthcare professionals every day, the impact that working through a pandemic has had on their mental health has been clear to see.

They’ve witnessed staff shortages, people taking their last breath without saying goodbye to their loved ones, burnout, and fear of covid taking its nasty toll on friends and family and this isn’t even half of it. Therefore, it’s no surprise that their mental health has taken a hit.

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this year is loneliness. We want all our Marvels to know that when you work with Bluestones Medical, you’ll never be alone. Our team is here for you, no matter what.

MHAW

Support from our team of clinicians

Did you know that we have our very own team of in-house clinicians? Annette, Lara, Arthur & Linda are all registered health and social care professionals with almost a century of experience between them. Their role is to provide an unrivalled service to our Marvels. Oh, and if you didn’t know, we like to refer to our candidates as our ‘Marvels’, as the definition of a Marvel is a ‘wonderful and astonishing person or thing’. Therefore, we think this is a fitting description for our candidates.

The clinical team offers training sessions, appraisals, and 1-2-1 revalidation sessions, but often, more importantly, they offer a friendly and experienced shoulder to lean on. Annette and Lara are also trained mental health first aiders, so she can be a fantastic support for you if you ever need to talk. Sometimes, speaking to someone who has walked in your shoes can make all the difference.

work-life balance

Work-life balance is so important

It is proven that high levels of work-life balance are positively associated with job and life satisfaction. Therefore, if you’re consumed by work and aren’t prioritising your personal life, it will eventually have a negative impact on your mental health. The beauty of working with us and becoming an agency Nurse, is that you’re in control. You decide how much or how little you work. You never have to miss a birthday, sports day, or special occasion. You can be there for your loved ones when they need you. Or, if you need to earn some extra cash to put towards something special, you can simply pick up some extra shifts when you need to.

Caring for our Marvels on both a personal & professional level

Recently, the cost of living has gone through the roof. This has been extremely worrying for so many people. How will I put food on the table? How will I pay for that school trip? How will I pay my bills? These are the everyday worries many of us are now facing. Moreover, these worries will inevitably have a negative impact on our mental health. We understand this and we want to do whatever we can to support our Marvels. So, not only do we offer excellent pay rates, but we go one step further by providing an extremely lucrative benefits package.

benefit scheme

Benefits include:

Free private healthcare – allowing you to claim back the money for things like dentist, optical, and chiropody appointments – find out more HERE

Free counselling sessions – in addition to free private healthcare, we also provide our Marvels with up to 8 FREE counselling sessions. After the trauma of the past 2 years, we want to ensure that our Marvels have access to the right support should they ever need it

Rapid Pay – has your washing machine broke or your boiler gone bust, and you need it fixed quick? We now offer a Rapid Pay option whereby our Marvels can work a shift and be paid for it within 48 hours – find out more HERE

Blue Light Card – providing our Marvels with hundreds of wonderful discounts and savings. After all, every penny counts

We know that as a healthcare professional, looking after your mental health can be hard. But we want our Marvels to know they’re never alone. We’re here for you and we’re here to listen to you.

top tips

Our clinical team has kindly shared their top tips on protecting your mental health

  1. Find a work-life balance that suits you. It’s time to put yourself first
  2. Connect with other people. Good relationships are important for your mental well-being
  3. It’s time to get physical. A Joe Wicks workout may not be for you, but a brisk walk in the fresh air will do you wonders
  4. Try new things. We’re not saying you must jump out of a plane or take up an extreme sport. However, things like trying out a new recipe or DIY project could help take your mind off the daily stresses
  5. Be in the moment – there are so many amazing things that happen every day, so be sure not to miss them. Start appreciating the small things in life and don’t let them pass you by

This Mental Health Awareness week, we hope you find the time to put yourself first and if you’re feeling alone, even when surrounded by people, be sure to speak out.

For more info on Mental Health Awareness Week, please visit the Mental Health Foundation website HERE 

If you’d like to find out more about working with us, please register your interest below and we will be in touch. Or you can contact us today at medical@bluestonesmedical.co.uk
T: 01244 555 020
T: 01633 499 689

Bluestones Medical Offers Rapid Pay Option

Bluestones Medical is extremely excited to announce that we have introduced Rapid Pay. This means that Marvels who use an Umbrella company will be paid within 48 hours of working the shift. 

 Why have we done this? 

In a recent survey, we asked our Marvels to tell us what they think we could do to improve the service we offer. Rapid Pay was something that came up on several occasions. Lo and behold, less than 3 months later, we are giving our Marvels the option of Rapid Pay! When our Marvels speak, we listen. After all, they’re the reason why we’re here doing what we do every day.

rapid pay

The Bluestones Medical Managing Director, Darren Logue, has always placed a huge emphasis on listening to what our Marvels want. Building a service that benefits the lives of every individual who joins Bluestones Medical is imperative for us.

What does this mean? 

When a Marvel who is paid via an Umbrella service works a shift, they have the option to get ‘Rapid Paid’ for it. This means they will be paid within 48 hours. It is a fantastic benefit for anyone saving up for something special or wants a quick and easy way to make some extra money. 

We’re delighted to add Rapid Pay to the list of benefits we can offer to our Marvels. We hope it demonstrates just how important providing a service that is tailored to meet their needs and requirements is to us. 

To find out more about Rapid Pay along with all the other benefits that come with being a Bluestones Medical Marvel, please get in touch with the team using the details below. Or, you can register your interest and a member of the team will be in touch.  

E: medical@bluestonesmedical.co.uk
T: 01244 555 020 (North hub)
T: 01633 499 689 (South hub)  

Bluestones Medical raises £652 for the Hospice of the Good Shepherd

On Friday 8th April, Bluestones Medical held an Easter-themed charity day in aid of the Hospice of the Good Shepherd.

We were extremely privileged to have been joined by a gentleman named Dennis Holman. Dennis’ wife, Jan, was in the Hospice last year and very sadly passed away. Since her passing, Dennis has been doing lots of work to promote the Hospice. This includes speaking about his experience of being in the Hospice and all the incredible work that they do. He is also passionate about keeping the memory of his beloved wife alive. It was lovely for us to hear everything about her and the person she was.

You may have seen in the news last year that whilst in the Hospice, one of Jan’s requests was to see her much loved pets one last time. Before you knew it, the Hospice facilitated that Jan’s horse, Bob, and two dogs, Monty and Roley, could come in and say goodbye. This is a testament to the incredible work that the Hospice does. You can read the full story and watch Dennis’ interview with ITV News HERE

Easter-themed bake off

Whilst we had our guests of honour, Dennis, and also Justin from the Hospice of the Good Shepherd’s fundraising team with us, we asked if they would be so kind as to be judges in our Easter bake-off competition. The teams within Bluestones Medical came head-to-head and produced their showstoppers in front of the judging panel. This also included our Managing Director, Darren Logue, who was most definitely the Simon Cowell of the panel.

It was a close call, but the winner was Michael Chan and his cheesecake-filled Easter eggs. They were simply delicious. However, not all entries were quite as successful, with the taste of one person’s lemon cake being described as ‘licking the back of a burnt oven’.

The day also consisted of a bake sale and a raffle, with several of our Marvels winning prizes too! The day was a huge success, and we raised an amazing £652.50 for the Hospice which we are delighted about.

There were also a few people who rolled out of the office thanks to consuming a considerable amount of cake, brownies, and other sweet treats.

Hearing Dennis speak about his experience and how the Hospice has supported him even after Jan’s passing was extremely moving for the team here at Bluestones Medical to hear. He says that it is because of the Hospice and the emotional support they have given him that he is able to have the strength to tell his story and ensure that Jan’s memory lives on.

Moreover, it hit home just how important it is for us to continue our fundraising efforts, especially because 75% of the required funds to run the Hospice must come through fundraising alone.

So, watch this space for more Bluestones Medical charity events, and thank you to everyone who has supported us so far.

Stay up to date

If you would like to donate to our JustGiving page, you can do so HERE. Also, to keep up to date to everything we get up to here at Bluestones Medical, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Bluestones Medical Complex Care Welcomes Linda Williams

Bluestones Medical Complex Care is delighted to introduce Linda Williams to the team, who joins us as our new Registered Manager.

As our Registered Manager, Linda’s extensive knowledge surrounding the health and social care sector will be utilised to help us provide best-in-class service to our service users, candidates, and clients alike.

Linda first got into care by looking after her youngest son, which led her into looking at the care services that were provided and the difficulties that parents and families were facing. She started her career as a Support Worker in a complex service and achieved her NVQ Level 2 in 2008. Fast forward to today and Linda has now completed her HABC Level 5 Diploma in leadership for health and social care and children & young people’s services (England) (QCF) (Adults Residential Management).

Linda Williams
Linda Williams - Registered Manager @ Bluestones Medical Complex Care

Linda is dedicated to making every house a home where happy memories can be made and aims to deliver a service that is nothing short of outstanding. She wants to connect people to their loved ones and the wider communities in which they live, promoting independence, choice, and opportunity to ensure they live a full, independent life, as they wish to live it.

Linda says her vision is for the service we provide is to be safe, homely, comfortable and of a standard, she would deem good enough for her own son to be supported in. She goes on to say that “I want to be proud of the service we deliver and most importantly, have the parents, family, and friends of the service users feel confident that their loved ones are well looked after and trusting of the service we deliver.”

We are extremely excited to have someone with such broad knowledge and experience surrounding the sector in which we operate, lead the way for not only us as a business, but for our service users, candidates & clients.

Here’s to working together to deliver our goal of changing the lives of our service users for the better and having a lasting impact on their quality of life.

Beat the January blues with these top tips

It’s a well-known fact that January can be a miserable month for many. The joy and cheer the festive period brings has disappeared and has taken a big chunk of your bank balance with it. The weather is cold and gloomy, your car needs defrosting in the mornings (usually on the days you’re running late), and let’s not even get onto the topic of dry January!

However, despite all this, there is still so much to smile about in January. It’s about focusing on the positives, and not letting the little things get you down. It’s also important to remember that there are many people who are also feeling down in the dumps, so you’re not alone.

As a healthcare professional, you’re used to dealing with sad and difficult situations. You witness people at their lowest and you regularly see people lose the ones they love most, so we understand that it may be difficult to remain upbeat. This is why we want to help.

First of all, we thought it would be nice to give you 10 things that you can smile about today:

  • It’s almost guaranteed that you’re the reason someone smiled today
  • You have a positive impact on hundreds of lives every year
  • You’re successful. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are today, you should be proud of yourself
  • Many people will think of you fondly until the day they die, even if you don’t remember them
  • In a scary world of cruelty and disharmony, you are a ray of sunshine that instills faith in humanity
  • Forcing a smile actually makes you happier. Even if you’re down in the dumps, putting a smile on—even if you don’t feel like it—can literally trick your brain into thinking there’s something to smile about
  • Your dog dreams about you – Harvard psychologists have suggested that, when dogs dream, they dream about their owners, because their REM cycles and brain patterns are similar ours
  • Jonas Salk created the polio vaccine; he could have patented it and made an estimated $7 billion but purposely didn’t. When asked why, he said “Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”
  • In Sweden, blood donors get a text when their donation is used, letting them know that they’ve helped save a life.
  • Bluestones Medical and Bluestones Medical Complex Care have the best team of Medical Marvels there is!

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

Now that you’re smiling from ear to ear, we wanted to give you some tips on how you can keep it that way. Life isn’t always full of roses, but there is always a way to improve things:

  • Be polite to rude strangers, it’s oddly thrilling
  • Take your headphones out when walking – listen to the world
  • Plant spring bulbs, even if they’re just in a pot
  • Set aside 10 minutes per day to do something you really enjoy
  • Keep your keys in the same place
  • Bring fruit to work
  • Ask questions & listen to the answers
  • Don’t save things for “best.” Wear them – enjoy them
  • Call an old friend out of the blue
  • Say hello to your neighbors
  • Keep a bird feeder by a window, ideally in the kitchen. It’ll pass time when you’re washing up
  • Laugh shamelessly at your own jokes
  • For instant cheer, wear yellow
  • Sing, just because
  • Give compliments widely and freely
  • Politely decline invitations if you don’t want to go
  • Do that thing you’ve been putting off
  • Set up an affordable standing order to charity

With the world that we’re living in and the experiences that healthcare workers have been through, it’s understandable if you’re struggling to find a reason to smile. You’re not alone. However, we would like to encourage you to talk to a friend, family member, work colleague, manager, and even a member of the team here if you’re struggling. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.

The January blues are normal, but if you’re constantly feeling sad and depressed, please get help. Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans any time, from any phone for FREE on 116 123. Sometimes, writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you understand them better. If this is the case for you, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org

To keep up to date with everything that happens at Bluestones Medical, please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram & Twitter

Lara’s top-tips for healthcare professionals during the festive period

The festive period is a time for people to unwind, relax and enjoy the company of those they love the most. It’s a time when people also like to spread love and joy and reflect on the year gone by, all whilst living by the phrase ‘eat, drink and be merry’.

However, working in the healthcare industry means that the festive period may not always be like it is in the films for you. It might not be magical, cheerful, and about spreading love and joy. It can be quite lonely, sad, and distressing.

Whilst others are visiting friends and family, you could be looking after a patient in ICU whose family hasn’t been able to visit them due to Covid.

You could be holding the hand of a patient who is suffering with their mental health and doesn’t know how they can carry on, whilst others are visiting the wonderful Christmas markets.

You’re visiting a sick, elderly patient at home whose only form of human contact is you, whilst your friends are drinking mulled wine at a carol concert.

Now, we know these are things you experience all year round, but they become even more difficult at this time of year, leaving you feeling deflated, burnt out, and distressed.

We wish there were something we could do to make this time of year easier for healthcare professionals, but unfortunately, there is very little we can do other than be there to support our Medical Marvels and do our bit to take away as much of the stress as possible for them.

However, our fantastic Clinical Lead, Lara Lamb who is an experienced Nurse, has kindly provided us with her top tips for working during the festive period.

Lara’s festive top tips…

  • Do not get hung up on sticking to a specific day to celebrate Christmas. As we all know, Healthcare Professionals can’t always have Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year off
  • Make time for you and your family
  • Look out for your colleagues and be kind – the holiday period isn’t a positive time for everyone, so take the time to be kind to others
  • Get plenty of sleep and get the rest you need. Covid isn’t over yet, so we may still be facing staff shortages over the festive period
  • Last, but not least – make sure you enjoy yourself when you get the opportunity! Leave work behind and remember you deserve to enjoy yourself too!

We would like to take this as an opportunity to thank all healthcare professionals for their bravery and the sacrifices they have already and continue to make for us. Bluestones Medical & Bluestones Medical Complex Care really do appreciate YOU!

If you would like to get in touch with us, you can do so by calling 01244 555 020 (north), 01633 499 689 (south), 01244 445 072 (Complex Care)

Bluestones Medical & Bluestones Medical Complex Care becomes a climate positive workforce

Bluestones Medical & Bluestones Medical Complex Care is delighted to announce that we have taken steps to become a Climate Positive Workforce. 

Thanks to teaming up with Ecologi, and the work that they do, we have been able to do our bit in giving back to the planet.

Ecologi funds two different types of climate action: one is the planting of trees, and the other is supporting a wide range of climate projects such as reforestation, rainforest protection, supplying clean drinking water, wind turbines, solar power plants, and clean cooking stoves.

We’ve all seen the news surrounding COP26 which has highlighted more than ever before how vital it is for businesses to take action. By joining forces with Ecologi, all of our employees will have their carbon footprint mitigated. This includes all of their travel, energy use, food, and hobbies that occur inside or outside of the business.

This partnership also means we will be planting trees each month, which ultimately helps restore healthy forests in places such as Mozambique, Madagascar, and the UK.

We’re so excited to watch our forest grow! All of this work is a great eco recognition on our path to Net Zero, and it’s a source of climate hope.

To keep up to date with our progress, follow our Facebook, LinkedIn & Instagram pages.

Ask Annette: Revalidation Tips

Annette Leavy is the Clinical Manager here at Bluestones Medial, and we are so lucky to have her on the team. She has been nursing for over 20 years now, so she has plenty of nursing knowledge for us to tap into!

Revalidation is something that every single nurse must complete every three years. It can be time-consuming, but you can make things easier for yourself by planning ahead.

 We asked Annette what her top tips for revalidation are, and here is what she had to say: 

1. The first tip Annette gave was to write things down when they happen. She says writing a reflective statement ASAP when it is fresh in your mind will save you trying to remember it further down the line. We’ve been in a pandemic for almost two years now, so use the experiences you’ve been through as a starting point.

2. Annette said the best place to start is the NMC website if you need clear guidance, as they provide revalidation templates that essentially hold your hand through the process. You can find these templates HERE.

3. As you’re probably aware, you need to provide five reflective statements with five pieces of evidence to support them. Annette said you could use anything from an email from a manager to a letter or card from a patient. Evidence can be anything that says how good you are in your role.

4. Annette has advised that you check all your reflective statements, and the evidence you’re using to support them meets the NMC revalidation requirements. You can check this by clicking HERE.

5. Revalidation comes around every three years. We understand how busy you are but leaving things until the last minute is never helpful. However, you will receive a prompt just before yours is due. Annette suggested allocating time each week to sit down and spend time alone writing yours, with no distractions.

6. Did you know that if you require assistance in completing your revalidation, Annette offers 1-2-1 support to all our candidates in the North? We also have Lara, our Clinical Lead in the South, who provides the same service to our candidates in South Wales. Not only this, but they are also available to discuss your reflective practices with and act as your confirmer.

If you would like more information on revalidation or support from Annette, you can call us on 01244 555 020. Or, for our candidates in South Wales, you can speak to Lara by calling 01633 499 689.

Keep up to date with everything we get up to here at Bluestones Medical and Bluestones Medical Complex Care by following us on our Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram pages.

Julie Rogers joins Bluestones Medical as a Clinical Lead!

Bluestones Medical is delighted to introduce Julie Rogers as our new Clinical Lead!

Julie has been representing Bluestones Medical as one of our community nurses for a while now and has built a fantastic relationship with the team.

We saw hiring Julie to be one of our wonderful Clinical Leads as an incredible opportunity not only for the business but for all our Medical Marvels too, as we will all now have access to her amazing skills and expertise.

We asked Julie a few questions so we could get to know her more & here is what she had to say…

Three words to describe yourself?
Tenacious, honest, and compassionate.

What’s your favourite film?
Before sunrise.

Who do you admire most and why?
Barack Obama. He is warm, he cares, an amazing orator and leader, and wants to guide people to a better world. He overcame cultural discrimination in the world of American politics to make history.

Name three people you’d invite to a dinner party (alive or dead)
Barack Obama, Nelson Mandala, and Mother Teresa.

What do you do best?
Live my own truth.

What’s your pet peeve?
Bad manners.

What’s your favourite drink?
A glass of Champagne.

​​​​​​​In your own words, tell us a bit about yourself .
I am a registered nurse with dual clinical experience both in various hospital settings and in the community district nursing teams. My mother was a nurse and my sister is also a Bluestones Medical Nurse.

Compassionate care runs in the family and I can honestly say, that without a doubt, nursing is the most privileged profession in the world.

Recently, I have been appointed clinical lead for Bluestones Medical and work within the office and at home conducting interviews and clinical support. Prior to this, I held various roles with a major high street building society, culminating in the role of district manager, responsible for borrowing and investment targets and staff management of 3 branches.

I was made redundant following the merger and acquisition of various lenders resulting in the building society becoming a major bank. At this point and following another major change in my life, I decided it was ‘now or never’ and decided to pursue my dream of becoming a Nurse.

I began my training in 2010 and in 2013 I qualified with a 1st Class BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing. For the last 7 years, I have worked full time plus as an agency nurse and feel this has developed my clinical skills, allowing me the opportunity to work in clinical settings, I would not have otherwise been exposed to.

With this amount of experience, it was extremely important to me that I was represented by an agency who had my best interests at heart, who look after and genuinely care about their nurses and are constantly looking to improve and have an open and caring approach with the ever-changing landscape of healthcare.

In taking a current practicing nurse in-house, which is unique amongst agencies, I am able to represent my colleagues and their needs, which prove invaluable for the outstanding service Bluestones Medical offers.

Outside of my working life, I have two daughters aged 23 and 17 whom I am extremely proud of. I also have a Cockapoo puppy named Lola, with the longest eyelashes in the world!!!

She is now 17 weeks old and has brought so much joy to our family. In addition, I also founded and own a business called Essence of Soul which is a real passion for me. It encompasses my life coaching and mentoring services underpinned with holistic modalities and corporate well-being service, all of which is particularly relevant in the last couple of years as the world has edged slowly through a global pandemic, leaving a lot of people lost and searching for meaning.

In what little spare time I have, I enjoy playing golf, theatre and love horse-racing, cricket, rugby, and football.

What does it mean to be a Bluestones Medical Marvel?

Being an agency nurse means you’ll rarely be working in one place for a significant period of time. As a result, you’ll regularly be working with new people, you’ll often be the ‘newbie’ and you may sometimes find it difficult to know where you belong.

We strongly believe that the benefits of being an agency nurse far outweigh the negatives, but we’re not oblivious to the fact that it doesn’t come without its challenges. We know, from speaking to our nurses every day, that it can be difficult to find your sense of belonging.

Here at Bluestones Medical, we believe that we have built something different. Something unique that we’re proud of. This is, that everyone involved with Bluestones Medical, from our incredible nurses to our consultants, right through to our cleaner, Brenda, is part of something special. Something that goes beyond a job role. Something that gives them a purpose and the knowledge that, without them, Bluestones Medical wouldn’t be the same.

Everyone who is part of Bluestones Medical is important, recognised, and very much needed. We feel privileged to be in a position that allows us to support the NHS to care for those who are most in need. To help families hold on to loved ones and to ensure that those at the end of their life don’t feel alone. This is our purpose. This is what gives us a sense of belonging.

You can read what two of our brilliant nurses had to say when we asked them to tell us about their experience of being a Bluestones Medical Marvel by clicking THIS LINK.

When you become a Bluestones Medical Marvel, no matter if you’re a Community Psychiatric Nurse, A&E Nurse, or a Scrub Nurse, you become part of our purpose. You also become our priority, meaning we will work tirelessly to find you not only the job role but the pay and the work-life balance that you’ve always wanted.

We want all our Medical Marvels to wake up and feel proud to put on their Bluestones uniform. We also want to hear about your day, whether it was good or bad, we want you to know you can call us anytime and we’ll be there. We want to build strong relationships with you, that goes beyond us just being your employer. We LOVE getting to know you, your hobbies, and your interests, it makes our job so much more enjoyable. But most of all, when you’re wearing your Bluestones Medical uniform, we want you to know that this is where you belong. You belong at Bluestones Medical and are a vital part of the team. When you work with us, we never want you to feel alone and if you do, just know we are only ever a phone call away.

So yes, it may sometimes be difficult to know where you belong when you’re moving from trust to trust and role to role, but when you feel like this, just remember that you are part of the Bluestones Medical community, and this is exactly where you belong.

You call or text your consultant at any time and they will be happy to chat with you. We’re always here and we’ll always have your back.

Phone: 01244 555 020
Email: medical@bluestonesmedical.co.uk