“We’re helping to change their lives”: Aged care nurses fulfil their childhood dreams

Aged care nurses changing lives

There has been a global celebration this week, acknowledging the commitment and bravery of nurses around the world on International Nurses Day (May 12).

VMCH CEO Sonya Smart says she is thankful for all the nurses who work across the organisation.

“I want to personally thank each of them; they all work tirelessly to ensure the health and wellbeing of our residents and clients. We are so very lucky to have them.”

Jyoti and Alisha have been working for St Bernadette’s Aged Care Residence, Sunshine North for five and three years respectively. Both started out as Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) before undertaking further study and training to become Registered Nurses (RNs).

“I was 19 when I started working here, when I came to Australia from Nepal,” says Jyoti. “It was a real home away from home. I love working with older people, especially when they smile at you when you walk past.

Alisha, also from Nepal, says being a nurse in aged care is a childhood dream for her.

“When I first came here I started work in aged care. Back home, we’re used to living with elderly people, so it’s like one big family here. Starting out as a PCA here in Australia was lovely, I became so close to all the residents, I learned all about them and their lives.”

In Nepal, Jyoti and Alisha both say that while they often live with their older relatives, they don’t monitor their health as we do within aged care residences. Jyoti says this makes a big difference in their overall health outcomes.

As part of their role, Jyoti and Alisha handle residents’ medications, coordinate external health services, monitor residents for any health changes, and have the additional responsibilities of assisting with COVID vaccinations.

While Jyoti loves being a nurse, she says it can be challenging when residents enter palliative care, as it is a very emotional time.

“It affects us all. While we are here to support and reassure the families, we are affected as well because we develop such strong relationships with them; they are like our grandparents.”

Alisha added, “It’s always hard to see them go, because we are emotionally connected to them.  But at the end of the day a smile from the residents make it easier.”

“Being a nurse is a very rewarding job, especially in aged care,” says Jyoti. “Working in a hospital, you don’t build that emotional connection, it’s so fast-paced. Working with residents, and knowing their history, hearing their stories, it’s very impactful.”

“Seeing residents smiling, we know we make a difference,” says Alisha. “We’re helping to change their lives.”

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