The aged care sector is growing fast, with 3.5 million Australians predicted to be accessing aged care by 2050. The already high demand for aged care nurses will continue to grow and the predicted workforce will need to triple its current size to almost one million in the next 30 years just to meet demand.
The growth in aged care provides a platform for innovation – expanding services and opportunities to give aged care nurses the chance to have an impact on the improvement and development of gerontic care in Australia.
There’s no other job like aged care nursing.
Hear from nurses working in aged care
Enriching care Gold standard - video transcript
If my professional life started again, I would go into aged care first before I do emergency because I think aged care lets me have that deep understanding of human nature.
I’m Juliana, Juliana Friedrich and I’m a Nurse Navigator for CARE-PACT, so all my clients are frail, vulnerable, elderly folks. So they are a very, very special group of clients.
I really believe that we need to see the aging process as a natural process, we’re all going to age one way or the other whether you like it or not. If you are able to reach old age, and still have a very reasonable life, that is amazing already. So, lets value that. They deserve the best health, they deserve the best nurses, the best doctors.
A negative stereotype is poison. If we continue to have this perception we will not be able to attract the right people to come into the profession, so let’s be proud of ourselves. Spread the word and encourage our colleagues to come into aged care. It can be a different stage of your career, like myself, I was a senior nurse, I still am a very senior nurse, and you can still step across. Or, you can be a grad nurse and the work they do is amazing.
Those elderly people are very special. I always said, you have to be lucky to get old. Not everybody has a right to get old. And I think us, in our society should really view them in a positive way. They have been in the world longer than most of us and they can take you to a journey that you never believed that you can travel.
It might be tales of romance, you may be in the war time, it might be some amazing story. Come on, we need good nurses and why not start from us ourselves. We need to really you know, nurture our environment, nurture our colleagues and pass on our knowledge. So, we look after ourselves, be proud of ourselves, and pass on all your goodies to the next generation. So that if we ever need them, they are there for us.
Enriching care Emergency - video transcript
I want people to live in a society where, when they’re older and they are unwell, they get gold standard care. They get the very best. And that’s what I’m going to keep doing through my career is working toward that whether that’s teaching other nurses, or research in the field, or working directly with patients. I think that is everything.
I’m Erin Cranitch, I’m a nurse practitioner and I work at the Redland emergency department round the care of older people. I can still remember one day I was heading to work and I thought wouldn’t it be amazing if one day I could teach other people how to do this. Tell them about the pitfalls and all the lessons learned. Two years later that’s exactly what I’m doing, writing some resources for the emergency nurses round the care of older people in the emergency department; the resources being rolled out statewide. Older people require individualised care, you cannot just lump them in to the same group as adults. So they present differently to ED for example. Their tests need a different interpretation. The more we learn about those differences the more empowered the nurses are going to be, so that’s the frontline staff for these people.
The human connection is one of my favourite elements. Connecting with someone that may otherwise have a lot of loneliness or sadness related to the ageing process alone or changes in their social circumstances.
The way you make them feel will live on with them. To think of them as your own mother, your grandmother, your grandfather, what would you do for those people in that situation and I think that is everything and it should be at the core of what we do. For a person in any population group but especially in a vulnerable group like an older person. That will always bring the best care, that will always bring the best of you to them.
I feel so fortunate to work in this field, one day I’m with a patient in the emergency department as a nurse practitioner. the next day I’m the clinical lead of a project looking at the big picture, of how we can make models of care better, how the quality of life and longevity of this group can be optimized. This research that I do as the project lead feeds back onto my clinical work and then my week starts again. I always think that “first to dream” phrase really applies to nursing. I have lived that because I was dreaming of that and now I get to live that, helping other hospitals do what we successfully did. Yeah, it’s a feeling of incredible pride.
Enriching care Re-imagining care - video transcript
I enjoy aged because I just, I don’t know. There’s just something about it, you know to me, that I’m attracted to. I can’t put my finger on it but I just enjoy having conversations with them and just seeing their smiles on their faces.
I’m Jennifer Murphy, I’m a clinical nurse and Sam is my RN. The biggest thing in aged care is to get to know the resident. That’s, I think, the biggest skill you can have. You get to know the family. Everyone of those aged care residents is like you mother, or your grandmother. You do become very attached, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a beautiful thing because that relationship between the two, the young and the old, is just… we’ve got a lot to learn from the old. Like you never stop learning with nursing but aged care’s taught me something completely different and I think it’s relationship side of things with your residents and families.
You can always teach someone to be a nurse but you can’t teach them how to care. And that’s what our philosophy is at Cooinda and if they care, they are going to make a good nurse there.
I’ve learnt so much in my communication, my clinical skills, my assessment skills, I don’t know if you’d agree but I’ve come a long way. But I think I’ve come a long way from Uni to now.
I’d trust you with my mother. Oh thank you.
And all my nursing, after 20 years in the hospital system, this is the hardest job I’ve ever been in. In the way of skills, like what you need to know. But it’s a great training area for new grads, it really is.
It’s fun. Yes, it is stressful, yes it is satisfying and rewarding but it’s also fun, It is. You see the residents, they have a laugh and a joke with you but I don’t think I’ve ever stopped smiling since I’ve been there. It doesn’t matter how stressful the job gets you still walk out of there with a smile on your face. I can tell them now, if they come down and work there they’ll want to stay. Because that’s’ how it is there. Every person that’s come there on placement has applied for a job there.
And that’s all down to the support from Cooinda. Yeah, and the skills, there’s a lot of people there to teach you.
Got a good teacher.
Older person’s mental health
Enriching care Older person’s mental health - video transcript
The best thing about my job is that I get to work as part of a team that is completely dedicated to individual older person-centered care and people get well, Its lovely to see.
My name’s Amy and I’m a clinical nurse with the older persons community mental health team. So my day to day usually involves going out and visiting people in their home and checking in with them, seeing how things are travelling. Seeing if there’s anything I can do to help them.
These people have lived amazing full fantastic exciting lives and now that they’re towards the end, they have all that chance to reflect back and share their stories and when you get to know them and how amazing these people are you always pick up a little bit of gold from them. They tell you something and you’ve just got like a secret that nobody else knows about until they get to over 65 and you feel really honoured and privileged. and it is an honour and a privilege to care for people as they age it’s really an amazing job.
I love it, I love when you leave somebody’s home after they’ve had such a hard last couple of weeks or months or even years and just after you’ve started treating them and they’re getting better, they’re getting back into life again and they’re enjoying their family and their friends and they’re becoming more social and they’re doing things that they used to always love to do that they never thought they would get back to doing again it’s a really amazing feeling.
My grandma was a nurse. When my mum and my auntie left school she sent them over to the UK, they lived in Ireland, sent them over to the UK to do their training and my mum trained as a mental health nurse and was able to see the de-institutionalisation of mental health care. She was able to tell me all the history about that and just seeing how far mental health nursing has come even in just one generation, it gives me so much hope and excitement for the future about what’s next, where are we going next with mental health nursing.
Oh my mum’s super proud. She’s just so grateful that her passion for nursing has been passed down another generation and we often talk on the phone about how exciting things are and what changing. She works in aged care now, she trains in aged care, and really loves to see the change and people are getting excited about providing that care. A new wave of nurses are coming in and things are changing, they’re getting better.
Oh just try it! Just give it a really good go and really go into it with an open mind to try and understand you know what it is about aged care nursing or about mental health nursing that your uncomfortable with or unsure of and then just let it all go and see what it’s like. Meet the nurses, meet the team, meet the doctors, meet the patients and see the results. I mean the results are the real thing that is the most rewarding part of our job we really get to see these amazing results.
Rural and remote
Enriching care Rural and remote - video transcript
Just because you’re an older person, all those essential inner things that we have as people remain. They don’t just disappear because you’ve got wrinkles and you’re ninety years old. You know what you strive for throughout your life, you still strive for when you’re an older person just in a different way.
My name is Jocelyn Marchant, I’m a clinical nurse at the Cloncurry aged care unit. I think through nursing you see various aspects of things that you like to do, and the two things that have always stood out for me were aged care and emergency nursing. They sound very contrasting, but they have very similar elements. You’ve got to communicate, and you’ve got to assess well. And you’re dealing with families.
A lot of them have been extremely hard workers on the land. they’re unaccustomed to being supported in their aged care because they’re so independent. The thing is to reassure them that they’ve done all the hard yards, were here to put the icing on the cake. I love the stories, they are living history as far as I look at it. Cos you think, if you go back ninety years and think what’s been achieved, that’s immense.
We have people who have worked in the war and have done things that you would only find out about in a book. These people have lived it, so you know, they are what I call living history, and that’s pretty special. I’ve had a varying background, I haven’t always been a nurse and I’ve been in a far more aggressive environment. I was actually a police officer. I’d spent fifteen years as a police officer and all of it was frontline in New Zealand and it’s a very harsh environment. Policing is enforcement, where nursing is caring. So the art of caring is valued by people. When I left Policing I felt better.
For a nurse who’s looking at aged care as a profession, I think they will get more rewards than they expect. The AIN role is vital to running a good aged care unit. Good AINs, happy residents and it all inter-twines. It’s a nursing area that has many multiple things like medical, surgical and palliative care often all come together, so you get a variety. So that’s one of the bonuses of being an aged care nurse.
You can’t always predict exactly where you are going to be and when you do get to somewhere, you’ve got to love it, and I love it here. It’s great, I’m lucky.