BlueCare hospitality manager shares secret recipe to being happy at work
A little laughter in an environment of mutual empathy and kindness are the secret ingredients to a happy aged care home. It is this style of caring that makes hospitality manager Denise Depree a much-loved member at BlueCare Carina Aged Care Facility.
Humble beginnings have helped shape Denise's big heart. She was living in a motel and cooking in a makeshift kitchen when she first applied for a job with BlueCare, in 2011.
'We were just cooking on a stove on the table and washing dishes in a bucket.'
Having spent most of her life in Tauranga, in the North Island of New Zealand, Denise decided to adventure across the Tasman Sea to start a new life in Brisbane, once her youngest child turned 21.
Having worked in the Air Force and then spent three decades running bars and RSLs, Denise initially felt she didn't have the 'right' skills for the hospitality manager position at an aged care home.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, she went for the gig anyway as she was eager to combine her love for the elderly with her hospitality experience.
'I've always been a shy person, and because you needed to have all of these different skills, I decided to keep looking for another job.'
She was called back for what she thought was a second job interview at BlueCare, only to be left 'shocked' to find she actually had been given the job.
'If I could have sat down and cried, I would have – that is how pleased I was.'
Now, she can't imagine working anywhere else.
As someone who truly loves their job, Denise says her hard-working and kind colleagues bring much joy to the job; however, it is the feeling of making a difference in the residents' lives that keeps her motivated every day.
Caring for others provides so much career satisfaction, she adds.
'You can't help but get attached to the residents because they become like family.
'I'm so passionate about my job that on a Monday morning I look forward to getting into work early.
'I've just about got tears welling up in my eyes talking about it because I love my job so much.'
Denise is responsible for ordering stock, inspecting cleanliness, managing and training kitchen staff, checking on the residents' welfare, creating care plans and much more.
She believes people have the wrong impression that carers and nurses are the only positions available in aged care facilities; however, she says there is a wide variety of positions requiring many different skill sets.
BlueCare allows people to start in one position and transition to another, for example, a lot of pantry staff become personal carers. BlueCare also gives employees a chance to grow within their current roles, she says.
'I didn't feel I had all the experience I needed, but I have grown with the job.
'I think if I had walked in knowing what the expectation was, I would not have enjoyed the challenge as much as I did coming in raw.'
Salary sacrifice is also a bonus, she says.
Denise has this advice for anyone thinking about joining the BlueCare team: 'Just do it, you won't regret it.
'It is a fantastic place to get involved in. At the end of every day, you will walk away with a smile on your face.
'If you love older people, then this is a great way for you to care for them.'
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