Saluting our aged care nurses


We love our nurses. Nurses have held the title as the most trusted and ethical profession in Australia for the past 20 years.

However, aged care nursing still often faces stereotypes that depict the profession as less interesting and exciting when compared to working in emergency, maternity or other clinical settings.

Registered nurses like Ana Hourihan disagree. She says aged care offers nurses a fulfilling career. She is the Care Manager at one of VMCH’s newest services, Star of the Sea Residential Aged Care, in Torquay.

“I’m really passionate about working in aged care. There can be a stigma around nursing in aged care. It concerns me when I hear that,” Ana said.

 “In aged care, you build a relationship with residents because you see them every day and you have more of a connection with them. In hospital you work with different patients every day.”

Ana says one of the most rewarding parts of her job is meeting interesting people and using her nursing skills to help them.

“I like building relationships with residents. It gives me a lot of satisfaction knowing that in little things, I have actually helped someone. Today I will go home quite happy because I’ve helped people.”

Registered nurses complete a three-year bachelor degree at university and are trained to assess, monitor and manage complex medical conditions. Once they leave university the can choose more than 100 specialist areas to work in. So, why choose aged care nursing?

VMCH Quality Coordinator, Emma Mole, says spending time in aged care is a great career opportunity for nurses who want to develop their management and people skills.

Registered nurses in aged care liaise closely with personal care staff, management, families and allied health services to ensure that any health issues faced by residents are quickly and effectively addressed.

“Nurses in aged care manage other staff from the very early stages of their career. Those skills could put you in a good position for your entire career,” Emma said

“You may not be required to use those skills in other nursing professions until further down your career.”

The need for highly skilled aged care nurses will only continue to grow as Australia’s ageing population also continues to rise.

More than 170,000 older Australians live in aged care residences and about 80 per cent of them have high care needs. Dementia, chronic pain, sleep disorders, urinary incontinence and depression are all conditions nurses treat on a regular basis in aged care.

Seniors living in aged care depend on highly skilled nurses and support staff to help them live as comfortably as possible amid these challenging health conditions.

International Nurses Day is on May 12 to mark the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

It is a great time to praise nurses for the vital work they do every day.