Jun 06, 2023

Care and support: A great job at any age and stage of life

Yan Li transitioned from ICU nursing to aged care and loves it for the flexibility it gives her. [Source: Shutterstock]

Returning to work after having children can be a daunting experience. It’s not just about finding a job that fits your new lifestyle, but also about finding work that uses your skills, brings in income, and still feels personally rewarding. 

After having my third child, I was faced with a difficult decision. Although I loved the 16 years I spent nursing in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) theatres, I wanted to explore other roles where my skills and experience could be of value, and that also offered more flexibility in shifts.

That’s when I started to look into the care and support sector. I was intrigued by the prospect of making a real difference in the lives of the people I care for, while still having a life of my own. After dipping my toes in with a few part-time shifts, I moved into aged care full-time in 2010. At 50, I continue to lead a team today as a Clinical Care Coordinator.

It is a sector that values life experience and a caring nature – qualities that are enhanced in our experiences as parents or older women. It’s also a sector that offers flexible hours and part-time shifts, options that are important for those of us who aren’t quite ready to retire from work or want to pursue other interests.

I speak from experience when I say transitioning from full-time work to retirement can be a challenging time for many. I know I’m not yet ready to give up the purpose and fulfilment that working offers. However, I have found the care and support sector to be a great option for those who are considering dialling back, but who are not ready to retire yet.

Beyond the practical rewards, working in care and support has also opened up opportunities to build meaningful relationships with residents and their families. These relationships are often grounded in trust – when families entrust their loved ones to our care, it’s truly special. 

Whether it’s through activities, conversations, medical nursing or simply being there for them when they need it most, the work we do is wide-reaching and truly rewarding.

I urge young people to look into the benefits of the care and support sector, too.

I can’t help but feel immense pride in my daughter who has followed in my footsteps. At 25, she now works as a speech pathologist for children with disability at a Victorian hospital. Her passion and dedication to helping those in need is a constant source of inspiration for me, and something I always encouraged her to pursue. After all, I’m a true believer that finding fulfillment in one’s work is the key to long-term success and happiness. I’m grateful to have found that in my own career, and I’m excited for my daughter and future generations to continue making a difference in the lives of others through this work. 

So, if you’re considering a career move to care and support, my advice would be to take the leap.

Like any job it’s not without challenges, but it’s a deeply rewarding field and there’s never been a better time to get involved. Whether you’re a new mother looking for a more family-friendly career or a seasoned professional seeking a new challenge, there’s a role for women at every life stage. And who knows – like my daughter and I, you might just find your calling in this incredible field. 

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