Nursery manager

Doreen’s career has seen her work in many places. But it’s always been centred around helping people.

As a paediatric nurse, she worked with young children, sometimes in vulnerable and difficult situations. She worked in schools, on wards, and out in the community.

Now, her extensive experience is helping her in her new job as a nursery manager.

‘I fancied a change from health,’ she says. ‘So when I saw the job it seemed like a good opportunity to use my skills in a different way.’

Nursery manager Doreen at her desk

Day to day

Doreen’s job is about creating a happy, supportive environment for the children. She does this by making sure her staff have the skills and knowledge they need.

 ‘I help them to access training, and work with them to find out where they need to develop,’ she says.

‘I think it’s really important, when you’re leading a team, to acknowledge good practice and the people who go the extra mile for our children and families.

‘The staff are motivated, and feel valued. They know that they’re capable and able to achieve what they want to.’

Helping children and families

‘A good working relationship with the parents is important too, to keep them informed of what’s going on,’ Doreen adds.

‘We have lots of different activities, and everything we do is about promoting the emotional wellbeing of the children. We help them develop the confidence and self esteem that they need.’

The paperwork

‘There’s also admin work, like registrations and making sure we meet the right standards,’ says Doreen.

‘The team needs to be up to date and aware of the relevant policies and guidance from the Scottish Government.’

Training on the job

Not long after she’d started the job, Doreen was told about a qualification – a Professional Development Award Level 9 in Childhood Practice.

‘At first I wasn’t sure I needed to do it – I have a degree in paediatric nursing, and I had the experience. But a course was starting and I found out more about it and it sounded like it could be really beneficial.

‘It was really interesting – I enjoyed every module and learned a lot.

‘It was also an opportunity to meet new people from other early years centres, and discuss things with them.’

What skills do you need?

‘Managing a nursery, and a team, you have to be a good problem solver. You need to be flexible and approachable in dealing with families in different situations.

‘As well as supporting your staff and your families, you need to be able to recognise what you need to work on, too. Managing and leading are two totally different things. You must be able to listen to other people’s opinions and value them – and make sure they have the space to grow and develop in work.’