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Meet Helen Douglas – Calvary Community Care

Meet Helen Douglas – Calvary Community Care

Calvary is a charitable Catholic not-for-profit organisation with more than 12,000 staff and volunteers. It owns and operates 15 public and private hospitals, 17 retirement and aged care facilities, and 17 community care centres right across Australia.

Calvary was established in 1885 by six courageous Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, who sailed from Naples to Sydney on the SS Liguria. Once in Australia, the Sisters immediately set to work nursing the sick in their own homes, as well as running a soup kitchen, a night refuge, a school for the blind, a parish school and providing social services to those in need.

Some 130 years later, Calvary is known for providing compassionate aged and community care, acute and sub-acute health care, and specialist palliative care and comprehensive care for patients, residents and clients, some of who are in the final stages of life.

Working across both aged care and disability support service, Calvary’s 1,400 personal carers and support workers provide 10,000 client visits per month.

“Every day, right around Australia, we are out there in the community,” says Helen Douglas, General Manager Operations at Calvary Community Care.

“With a rich heritage of care and compassion, our support staff are the face of Calvary. As their employer, our responsibility is to support them so they can do their very best work.”

Helen had worked with the Newly team on some selective recruitment exercises but recently faced staffing gaps in metropolitan Melbourne.

“We had an urgent need to fill jobs and had an existing relationship with Newly. So we developed a project as an Operations group, and it worked well. The speed on turnaround was particularly impressive.

“We then asked Newly to fill a similar need in Sydney and both experiences were successful.”

To get the right skills they needed, Helen says that Newly understood the importance of recruiting for personal attributes as well as technical qualifications and skills.

“That’s very important to us,” she says.

“So, if a client has been a professional in their previous life, they may express a desire for a carer who is interested in current affairs and is a good conversationalist. On the other hand, some clients tell us they don’t want a chatty person. It’s all assessed on a case by case basis and a good recruiter understands this.”

Helen says she enjoyed the opportunity to work directly with Newly and says the relationship has always been ‘respectful and strong’.

“They are especially open to feedback so if things didn’t go precisely as planned, Newly were keen to resolve or explain things,” she says.

“From an operational point of view, they were practical and understanding. Being easy to work with and on the same page as us just made the whole experience so much easier.” 

Helen believes that getting support worker recruitment right is central to Calvary Community Care’s market positioning.

“Our history, our mission and our customer value proposition are all about the true spirit of care. That means we cannot compromise on our recruitment.

“In our industry, when you get a great carer or support worker, look after them with support, with structure and with personal attention.

That’s when you can have confidence in them to go out, representing you and your values, and to do their very important work.”

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