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In their words

What else is involved in the role? How does it feel to really help people? And why should you apply? Let our current team tell you.


How did you end up in this role?
I started when I was 21. I’d just left a job in a nursing home, and I fancied a change. I knew I wanted something where I could make a difference, and this sounded perfect.

Was there anything that surprised you about the role, when you started?
I was pleasantly surprised by the environment. There’s a gym here, a cinema room, a salon and a library. There’s quite a bit for people to do. 

What makes you proud about doing this job?
People here are in difficult situations. You’re making it as easy and comfortable as possible. You’ve got to keep boundaries, but you’ve got to be empathetic too.

What qualities do you need to be a DCO?
Communication and listening skills, definitely. You’ve also got to be adaptable, because in this role, you’re a carer, a teacher, a parent and a counsellor. 

Why should someone consider applying?
Life on the units is really interesting. You have amazing conversations, and you’re always busy. If you’re enthusiastic and looking for a challenge, you’ll love it.


How would you explain the role of DCO?
The press always call us guards. That’s not my job title, or my job. We’re here to look after and support people. 

What’s the key to success in this role?
Conversations are important. You have a chat, reassure people and make them feel better. It’s also important to treat people with respect. The whole place runs on rapport and mutual respect. If you learn about people, you can spot a change in their mood, and that allows you to help them properly.

What makes you proud about doing this job?
You see someone at a low point, and you talk to them and support them, and a week later they’re a completely different person. That makes it worth it. 

Why should someone consider applying?
You can make a positive impact here. You can positively influence how people feel and how they are. We’ve had people at their lowest ebb, and you can flip that around.


Did you have any expectations when you started?
I thought it might be a bit like a prison, but it really isn’t. It’s a much more relaxed and open environment where residents get lots of choice.

What’s the role about?
You help and support people. You befriend them, ask what’s wrong, and then signpost them to the right support service. Building rapport is so important. You’re the listening ear, and sometimes that can be all it needs. 

What makes a great DCO?
Empathy and patience are important. You’ve got to be firm too. Sometimes you have to tell someone to do something, so you have to be authoritative and professional. 

What makes you proud about the work you do?
We’re helping people who are in stressful situations, and we’re the ones who are there for them. You can see the difference you make. We get thank you cards sometimes, which is lovely.

How have you grown in this role?
You get lots of opportunities to learn when you begin. You’re allowed to find your feet, through shadowing and training.