Busted: common myths about aged care nurses
IT'S commonly thought that working as an aged care nurse comes with certain stereotypes.
While some say it's the end of a career, others believe helping people age is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
Envigor Home Care executive manager Tracey Silvester told Aged Care Insite the perception is that, because it's a choice you make towards the end of your working life, it's not a legitimate career choice. However, given the ageing population, nurses may need to rethink their career trajectory.
"Anybody who thinks they'll be able to work as a nurse and won't look after older people at one point in their career, they're not up with the times in terms of what our population demographic looks like," Silvester said.
She added that the perception that working in aged care means losing valuable nursing skills is a misnomer often made up by people who have never worked in aged care.
"Having said that, I think nurses are their own worst enemy. Perhaps working in aged care has historically been seen as the job you do before you retire … and maybe that's where some of those perceptions come from."
She said when she recruits nurses, their clinical skills are just as good, if not better than nurses working in hospitals, as you need to be very confident of your own decision making.
"You're often the only nurse available, particularly in a community care setting where you're visiting people in their homes - you wouldn't have a nurse or doctor around that you can call on for advice.
"You need to be very confident and capable, you need to assess people because you need to make decisions - so for nurses looking for autonomous practice, working in aged care can provide that," she said.
In the company's blog, Silvester said aged care is one area of nursing that will continue to grow as Australia's population ages over the next 20 to 30 years.
Currently, more than 170,000 people live in aged care homes, most with one or more chronic conditions such as pain, dementia and depression.
She said aged cared nurses need to have an immense amount of knowledge across a multitude of areas.
"As an aged care nurse, you are going to be dealing with a large number of elderly people, all of whom are likely to have at least one chronic condition. You need to have a vast, comprehensive knowledge of everything to enable you to provide holistic care," the blog read.
This story first published on Aged Care Insite.