Fran Pucilowski – 40 years with WesleyCare

Congratulations and thanks to Fran Pucilowski who has just marked 40 years of service to WesleyCare.

Fran started at what was then Fairhaven as a part-time registered nurse while her family was young before becoming manager. Today, she’s responsible for the 108 residents and 140 staff.

In April 1966, Fran started her nursing career. She came to Fairhaven in 1979 and was later invited to job share with the manager. Her co-manager retired a year later leaving Fran to take over what was then a 25-bed hospital. At the same time, the 50-bed rest home was amalgamated with the hospital and Fran became manager of both.

Nursing has changed over the years. When she started, an elderly resident could be transferred easily from a bed to a chair by one nurse. Now most people have to be hoisted, which takes at least two and sometimes three healthcare assistants. Registered nurses did much more hands-on nursing care but now have a lot of paperwork to do.

Training for nurses has changed, too. “I did hospital training, my first day being in the wards. Students today start training in the classroom. They’ve got much more knowledge but sometimes don’t have the practical experience. Older nurses who did hospital training will say it was better but I can appreciate the modern nurses have got better knowledge. I’d like to see them spend more time on the floor, though.”

Fran believes that, at heart, she’s more of a nurse than a manager. Her concern is for the healthcare assistants, saying they are the most undervalued and under-rated members of our workforce. Their work is hard and heavy. “Even more than the registered nurses, the health care assistants are the unsung heroes. You’ve got to be able to battle for them. I know how hard it is.”

She believes it makes a difference to some prospective residents that WesleyCare is part of a faith-based organisation. “I like that and tell people what differences they will experience here. We have a very good chaplaincy service. The focus has always been the person, with the financial aspect, although necessary, being secondary.”Fran is grateful to work with a great team of people, both at WesleyCare and the wider mission.