published on
July 6, 2023

From filling shifts with Florence to joining our team: Donna's story

Jeanne Loganbill
posted on
Life at Florence
From filling shifts with Florence to joining our team: Donna's story

At Florence, we know care. Many of us have frontline, first-hand experience working in health and social care, including our founders, Dan and Charles.

Today, we’re talking to another such team member, Donna Geraghty, who joined Florence after using us to fill shifts and train staff in her capacity as a regional operations director at a large care group. 

We sat down to chat about why she joined us, and why – through her her experience working on “both sides” – she believes we’re the best solution for helping teams fill shifts and deliver the best possible care.

When did you begin working in care?

I became a care assistant at 18 and loved it right from the start. At first, I spent most of my time working with older adults, but after about a year, I moved into a role supporting people with learning disabilities and mental health needs.

It was quite an exciting time in the care world: in the late 90s, many people with mental health needs and learning disabilities were moved from institutions into community-based settings. So much of the work we did was transitional – helping people adjust to life outside in-patient facilities, for example.

How did your career in care progress?

At 27, I became an operations manager and commissioned a new education and training service for young people with mental health and learning needs. 

Shortly afterward, I joined a large independent healthcare provider and stayed there for about 11 years. As a regional operations manager, part of my job was to overhaul a group of challenging care homes, which I enjoyed. My team and I spent many months troubleshooting problems and finding better ways to do things.

How did you first learn about Florence?

I first heard about Florence in 2017 when Dan and Charles came into the regional office. About a year later, a Florence rep visited one of my care homes and gave a demo of the platform. We had a good chat, and I decided to start using Florence to fill staffing gaps. It didn’t take long to roll Florence out to all the care homes in my group. 

Which Florence features did you find most helpful?

I found the governance team at Florence really easy to talk to. If we had questions about care professionals, I knew they’d have the answers – and all the right paperwork in place. When incidents happened, as they inevitably did, we never had to worry about getting support. 

Florence consistently sent the right people to my care homes. The nurses, care assistants and support workers we got from Florence were better than those we’d received from other agencies in the past, and dealing with just one staffing provider made my life easier.

The Florence rating system makes a difference to quality of care as well, I think. You can leave a review for each care professional you work with – and they can leave a review for the care home, too.

How did you end up working for Florence?

During the pandemic, I took a role in training and development and eventually became head of quality and governance at a healthcare services company in London. I had the freedom to make decisions and budget within my department.

We had a challenging project to organise and knew we needed to train staff to do the work quickly. My colleagues and I came up with an unusual solution: we’d get a group of qualified Florence nurses, train them up and send them out into the field. 

Our approach worked really well – we did about 700 medication assessments to help complex care clients in just six weeks. 

Meanwhile, Charles and Dan were developing Florence Academy. I kept in touch with both of them, and we became one of the first companies to weave Florence Academy training into staff development.

Later, a role opened up at Florence, and I decided to move across. It was a big decision, and very different from the work I’d done before, but I certainly don’t regret it. These days, I get to work with and find solutions for care home managers, which feels genuinely rewarding. 

What do you like most about Florence?

Florence makes life easier for managers, and that’s something I get a lot of feedback about. People love using the Florence app features – especially digital timesheets. Plus they get to cut out the agency middle man, which saves time and money.

I really believe we’re ahead of the curve and offer something other staffing solutions don’t. Florence is easy to understand, even if you’re not tech savvy – and if you get stuck, there’s always someone here to help you out. 

Florence: the right insight makes an impact

When companies care about the needs of the people they serve, it shows. 

Dr Charles Armitage and Dan Blake founded Florence for one simple reason: to make life easier for care organisations, healthcare professionals, patients and residents all over the world.

Having spent time working for the NHS, Charles knew firsthand how difficult it was to fill shifts with experienced nurses, care assistants and support workers – especially at the last minute. Driven by empathy for his colleagues, he joined forces with Dan and launched Florence in 2017.

As the company grew, Charles and Dan began adding seasoned health and social care professionals to the Florence team. With the right real-world experience on tap, they began developing features to help care organisations find the right staff and improve continuity of care.

Today, Florence works with more than 4,000 care organisations in three different countries, helping them find trusted care professionals, train staff and retain talent.

Real-world experience makes a real difference

People like Donna make all the difference at Florence. Her real-world experience helps her find the best staffing and training solutions for care organisations, so they can retain talent and boost continuity of care. We’re grateful she’s part of our team.

Join hundreds of care homes and use Florence to fill rota gaps with staff you trust, from your own team and our 90,000+ qualified care professionals. Click here to book a demo today.

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