Faces of Baptcare | Meet Robyn Jones

Visiting Baptcare’s Orana Respite Day and Social Centre in East Devonport, Tasmania is like walking into a cosy relative’s home. You’re greeted by the smell of a hearty hot meal and everyone seems genuinely happy and relaxed from the chatty clients to the various lifestyle and kitchen staff. Overseeing the happiness is Robyn Jones, Home Care Program Manager at Orana who is often seen quietly interacting in the background with her trademark composition and kindness. A quote from Sheryl Sandberg (Former Chief Operating Officer of Facebook) comes to mind: “Leadership is making others better as a result of your presence …”

What is your current role and what does it involve day to day?

I am the Home Care (HC) Program Manager at Orana. As we are such a tightknit and supportive team at Orana, my days can vary depending on what’s needed at the centre. For example, it may involve supporting staff to resolve tricky situations within our budgetary requirements or it may involve filling in for someone in the social centre (which I love as I get to chat to all our beautiful clients!)

Overall, my role is to ensure we have happy clients and staff and that everyone is working to the best of their ability to provide the best possible support to our clients in the Day Centre and/or clients in their own homes in the community.

How long have you been working at Baptcare and how long at Orana?

I have been working for Baptcare for over five years. I started in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) space as Regional Manager in Launceston then moved over to Devonport in 2021 to manage our HC services which is where my passion lies.

What do you like about working with Baptcare and at Orana?

Baptcare have been very supportive to me over the years and have given me opportunities to work in different areas of the business. I love working at Orana as I love HC. I genuinely love working with all our clients in the Day Centre and in their own homes. I love making a difference in their lives and if I can make a client happy by bantering with them or giving them a solution to their problem then I go home, knowing I have made a small difference to someone. The staff I work with daily are also amazing. I can put my hand on my heart and say they are the best team I’ve ever worked with and I have been in the HC sector for over 30 years so that’s really saying something!

Can you share a particularly special workday or customer interaction you’ve had recently?

We had the pleasure of having our CEO, Geraldine Lannon, and her team visit Orana late last year. During this visit, we had some of our clients interviewed by the media team. To hear the laughter and the stories on this day made me so proud to work at Baptcare and to work with such beautiful people.

How would you sum up Orana? Why do you think it’s such a special place for so many people?

Orana is a special place because of the staff who run our Day Centre and all the staff who provide support to our clients. And then there’s our cook who is also amazing! We give our clients the opportunity to meet new people and form new friendships. A group of our clients even chose to go on a cruise together recently! No matter which Orana staff member answers a phone call, I know that the person will always be greeted with a happy voice. We make our clients feel welcome so they know Orana is a safe place for them. The feedback we receive from the community and clients is that our care workers are like their additional family. Our low staff levels speaks volumes.

Are there any common experiences you notice with your customers? Are they generally a bit shy when they first join Orana? What kinds of comments do they make about Orana?

Most new clients are in two minds when coming for the first time as they don’t know anyone. We make sure that we sit all the new clients with longstanding clients who are very sociable. I often see our current clients get up and go introduce themselves and welcome the new clients to Orana, which makes them feel special. We make sure that we include our new clients in conversations and encourage them to stay on for activities after lunch. It is very rare that a new client doesn’t return to Orana. We often hear clients say that they wish that they’d come to Orana earlier; that they love it here, that Orana is like their second family and even that it has saved their life.

And now a bit about you, Robyn. Did you always want to work within the aged care space and what are some other jobs you’ve performed in your career?

With the exception of a small stint at Baptcare in the NDIS space, I have always worked in aged care. When my children were little and at school, I worked in a residential kitchen where I would help prepare and deliver the meals to residents in the dining room. I enjoyed listening to their stories and enjoyed my job so much that I put myself through study for my Certificate III in Aged and Community Care. Once I achieved this, I started working in home care and have never looked back. I continued with my study and was given opportunities through my career to go into other positions. I have had over 10 roles within the home care space so feel I have done it all. I like to share my career story with others to encourage them to set goals and know that you can achieve whatever goals you set your mind to.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I thought I would work in childcare but my career path changed when I accepted an opportunity in a residential aged care community. I have never regretted that decision.

Can you tell us two surprising things about yourself?

Five months ago, I joined a dragon boat paddling group that’s made up of breast cancer survivors and supporters of breast cancer. I had never paddled in my life, but I love it and have made some wonderful friends.

I have three sons, four granddaughters and one grandson who mean the world to me. People describe me as a very strong person but one of the hardest things that I’ve had to face in my life was moving away from them. Thank goodness for technology and Facetime!

Do you have a favourite quote or motto in life?

Life is short so don’t put off what you can do today.

Please complete this question: my favourite weekend would include going away for the weekend. Tasmania have so many beautiful places that are only a couple of hours drive away. Going away helps me recharge my batteries for the week ahead.

What are two things on your bucket list?

  1. Visit the UK and meet family I haven’t met but are friends on Facebook.
  2. Visit Canada for a white Christmas.

Do you have a mentor or idol? OR If you could sit next to someone at a dinner party, who would it be and why?

If I was to sit at a table with someone of my choice, it would be Hugh Jackman. He seems like a down to earth person.

You can read more about our Orana community on our website.