Staff Spotlight: Rachael Wareing, Healthcare Centre Manager

In our Staff Spotlight series we are speaking with our fantastic Gordonstoun staff and getting an insight into what makes them tick. Meet Rachael Waring, our Healthcare Centre Manager, who in her role expertly oversees everything from student wellness, to travel vaccinations, to our new Sustainability Enterprise, and much much more.

Tell us a bit about yourself, what you do and how long you have worked at Gordonstoun

I’m the manager of the Healthcare Centre, I’ve worked at Gordonstoun for seven years, and I’ve been a nurse for 25.

What do you enjoy most about working at Gordonstoun?

Caring for the students, looking after their physical wellbeing and emotional health, and the challenges that can bring sometimes. Every day is completely different in the healthcare centre, no day is ever the same. It’s great fun - hard work but great fun.

It’s very different from what you’d expect from your normal school nurse - we do medicals for the Fire Service, Expeditions and Sail Training Voyages. We’ve just started blood donation with the Scottish Blood Service and are the only boarding school in Scotland that does that. We do new health checks for all students that start at school. We do travel vaccinations for all the international service projects to places like Romania, Thailand, and India. We’re just starting a new Sustainability Enterprise in the healthcare centre, which is going to provide sustainable products like wooden toothbrushes, toothpaste with recyclable tubes, and refills for toiletries. The range of what we do is huge, but it’s great fun.

It’s always really exciting, always challenging, always constantly thinking outside the box, which is what I like. It’s a good laugh, I’ve got the most amazing team, without them you couldn’t do it

Rachel as a newly qualified nurse: 1998

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My kids. I’m a parent of two girls at Gordonstoun and caring for them, bringing them up and ensuring they lead happy lives, I think that's what all parents want for their kids is to ensure that they’re happy.

I’m also really proud of being a nurse, I wouldn’t want to do any other job, I love nursing. I’ve always wanted to be a nurse since I was tiny, I never wanted to do anything else. I see myself as being quite lucky that I've always known what I wanted to do as a career and I’ve never waivered.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Spending time with my girls.

Also, when a student leaves the Healthcare Centre, and you can see their burdens lifted off of them, and you know that you’ve achieved something, and that they’re going back into school to continue with their education, and that they’re happy, and that we’ve contributed in some small way to that.

What is something surprising about you?

I love doing voluntary work.

During COVID when school was closed, I went back to work for the NHS in the vaccine centre in Elgin, and it was great to be a part of that. I also did a 600 mile swim for Chelsea Pensioners, for charity. Something that I’m really proud of is that I set up a charity shop in the Falkland Islands, which is still running today. That was over 10 years ago, and it was quite difficult to set up, so the fact that it’s still running today means that it was worth it.

What talent would you most like to have?

I would like to have x-ray vision, so I can see when students have broken bones, or have injured themselves in a way you can't see by the human eye, so that I don’t have to spend my life sat in A&E!

What is your biggest challenge in your role?

Working with international students and parents brings different challenges in healthcare, because how they treat someone at home may be different from how we treat someone here. I try to ask the student “how would you treat this at home?”. For example, we had a student recently who would treat their illness with a hot rice and soup dish, so I cooked it for them. It’s a tiny thing, it only took me about 20 minutes, but for them it’s really important, and psychologically it definitely helps them. I try to bring elements of their home environment into the healthcare centre, that attention to detail really makes a difference. It’s really important to learn about the student and what we can do to support them.

Is there a quote or saying you live your life by?

Take every opportunity that you get.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Diet Coke and chocolate.

Thankyou Rachael for taking the time to talk to us!

To find out firsthand how our dedicated staff work together to support every student to reach their full potential, join us for a Virtual Taste of Gordonstoun Webinar.