My Center Parcs history
I’m a Sister at Longleat Forest’s Medical Centre and have been working here since the day the Village opened, 20 years ago. I’m responsible for overseeing and managing guest and staff care every day. Although Center Parcs is a family short break destination, we can’t forget that it’s also a forest. Because of that, it’s important to have on-Village medical support to deal with accidents and emergencies.
My motto is ‘expect the unexpected’, because at any given time, anybody can come with any sort of ailment. It can range from toddlers being unwell, to trips and falls right through to heart attacks. It’s so varied – from birth to death. On average, I come into contact with around 40 people each day. The most common problem I deal with is a general viral illness, coughs and colds, things like that.
The nice thing about working here instead of, for example, a doctor’s surgery, is that my time with patients is only dictated by the number of those waiting. Unlike the NHS where doctors and nurses have strict targets to adhere to – around 10 minutes per patient – I’m able to connect with my patients and get to know them, which can really make a difference in getting to the root of the problem.
You might be surprised to know…
I was a nursing officer in the RAF for 11 years, before I started working at Center Parcs. I guess that might be a bit surprising! I worked on a ward and spent two years as an air and medical nurse, flying all over the world. I worked overseas in Cyprus for 18 months, which was fantastic.
My motto is ‘expect the unexpected’…It’s so varied – from birth to death
It was completely different to anything I’d ever experienced. When you’re out there, you are the front line – there was no doctor, just me and another nursing colleague. It was very interesting, a rapid turnover of patients. It was a high-pressure environment and gave me good footing for working in intensive situations. I still call upon that today; I love to be busy and always on the move.
Why I’ve been here since the beginning
To be honest, it doesn’t feel like 20 years. It feels so fast, probably because it’s always busy. You know what they say – time flies! People ask me this all time, what’s so great about the company, have you ever thought about moving et cetera. The truth is, if I was unhappy I’d move, but I don’t need to. I have a great mixture of patient care, staff care and management and that balance swings each day, so my day is always interesting.
It comes down to the variety of work too. Center Parcs has given me a much wider scope than just nursing; my role has expanded into health and safety, managing, the Village council, European works council as well as food safety and first aid. Even after 20 years, Center Parcs continue to broaden me from my natural role – they have given me the opportunity to develop and I’ll always be grateful for that.
Even after 20 years, Center Parcs continue to broaden me from my natural role
But besides all that, just look at the place! It’s such a beautiful place to work. The feeling of camaraderie emanates from every corner, not just in my own department but across the entire Village. You feel like you’re genuinely involved in the business and that’s missing in most other workplaces.
My proudest moment
I’ve had many, but the one that stands out in my mind was the safe arrival of a premature baby around 13 or 14 years ago. I can remember it like it was yesterday: baby Chloe, born on December 22. She was seven weeks early; her parents thought they’d have one last break alone before their lives changed forever. But the baby had other ideas! I’m not a trained midwife and haven’t had any experience in delivering a baby since 1978 so it was nerve wracking, but fantastic to be involved in.
Chloe and her family have actually been back a couple of times since. When she was 11 they visited and popped into the Medical Centre. Longleat Forest obviously holds a lot of happy memories for them.