Enliven staff: pick of the resident’s bunch

Woburn Home clinical nurse manager Shalini Vij with residents Freda and Pam.

Residents are at the centre of everything Enliven does – that includes hiring the staff members who work in their home.

For almost a decade Enliven homes have invited residents to be a part of the interview process with incoming managers, nurses, and carers. The residents get some facetime with job candidates to ask their own questions and make sure the person is the right fit for the home – their home.

Enliven general manager Nicola Turner says the residents are the most important people and the staff at the home have a huge effect on their quality of life. Therefore, it is only right to give them the chance to have input into who they think will be the best fit.

She says over the years the best staff, especially managers, are the ones residents have recommended.

“It’s quite clear what is important to the residents, and it sets the scene for the new staff member coming in about who is the most important person, why they are there.”

Enliven Central general manager Nicola Turner

Nicola says it makes for a much more successful employment relationship, and relationship between residents and staff, when residents are involved in the interview process.

Following an interview with the hiring manager who covers technical questions, two or three residents sit down with the prospective staff member. Nicola says residents take it responsibly, and usually come with a list of questions.

“If you talk to some of the managers it is the hardest interview they have ever had, because the residents are really conscious a manager could make or break their home.”

The process of having residents interview potential staff is part of Enliven’s philosophy of care, which is based on the internationally recognised Eden Alternative. Enliven recognises people need to maintain control over their lives, wherever they live and whatever their age. That is why it is committed to putting residents at the centre of everything – even the hiring process.

Shalini Vij, who recently started as a clinical nurse manager at Woburn Home in Lower Hutt, says she enjoyed the chance to sit down with residents as part of her interview.

“It was a really good experience for me to have a chat with the residents for 10 to 15 minutes. It was a really valuable experience.”

They asked questions about where she had been working, about her family, how she would manage the staff, and how she would react in different situations.

She thought it was important for residents to have their say, as she was coming to work in their home.

Before moving to Woburn Home Shalini was a clinical nurse educator at ABI Rehabilitation New Zealand, and she is enjoying being back in the aged care sector.

“I loved working in aged care before, but I wanted to explore so I went to work in other sectors, but I am enjoying being back in aged care.”

One of the residents charged with asking Shalini a few questions during her interview was Freda Luey, who says it is a privilege to be able to talk to people before they start work at the home. Although, when she interviewed Shalini all her questions were answered in “one fell swoop!”

“When she [Shalini] was asked the reasons she applied for the job she actually answered all the questions that I wanted to ask her.

“She gave a very thorough account, I didn’t need to ask the other questions because they were already answered for me.”

Freda liked that Shalini talked about making sure the staff acted as a team and were able to step up when other people weren’t there.

In Freda’s eyes Shalini passed the test with flying colours.

“I just had that lovely feeling, I approved of her very strongly. She came in and she was calm and she looked as though she was going to answer the questions without any hesitation.”

Up next

View all

Romika’s Nursing Journey

Champion for Māori Health

Kandahar Village resident Pam on how downsizing worked for her

Downsizing can be a challenge, but it’s one that comes with plenty of rewards says Kandahar Village resident Pam Palmer.