It does not take long to understand why people really like Chris Keay…. after ten minutes with him it is also easy to understand why he has been shortlisted for Carer of the year in the ’Best of the North Belfast’ awards.
For five years he has quietly and professionally played a massive part in the North Belfast Community whilst working for NW Care…and his clients love him for it.
“To be fair some people are taken aback when I tell them I am a care worker, just the other day the barber was surprised when I said what I did, but very soon he was interested and I could tell his perception of the sector had changed…. not sure I convinced him to sign up, but as least one more person respected my role”.
Previously Chris worked for seven “very long” years in retail before taking the leap into care and he hasn’t looked back – with no prompt at all he confidently says, “it has been life changing”.
“Not many people know this, but I have a stammer and have always been quiet and shy…. To be honest I was tortured at times growing up, especially at school because of it…. it did contribute to me developing a lack of confidence…but despite this, I knew my life was missing something”.
Care work gave him confidence to overcome his own challenges.
“I always knew that I would like to provide care. I can say now proudly that over the years I have evolved and can now quickly develop relationships with clients, their families and other health care professionals….so much so that I don’t think about my stammer anymore…I even think people don’t even notice it now”.
Like male nurses, male carers also face different attitudes to the care skills they offer.
“It can be frustrating sometimes, we spend years learning to provide care and some clients or families feel that a female carer would be better placed….I do get it in certain circumstances, but it would be nice if society could be more open minded to male carers and provide them with the same professional respect as female carers”.
If someone was thinking about moving into care could you give some practical guidance?
“You need to develop or learn to have patience, and you need to have a level of open mindedness as every client has different needs. I would be lying if I did not say the job does test you occasionally, but you really learn a lot about yourself. I have gone from being a shy character to someone who is confident in my ability to help clients in a professional manner, whilst making their day a little better….and I get such a buzz from that”
Please take a few minutes to vote for Chris in the Best of the North Awards under ‘Care worker’ – http://belfastmediagroup.com/best-of-the-north-2019-voting/