A meaningful and rewarding career

A hand holding a pen hovering over a piece of paper ready to write Aged care quality manager Belinda at the front of an aged care home.

‘In the early nineties, I started working as an enrolled nurse in aged care for a few years.

I then moved on to other areas of nursing, including rehab and general hospital wards.

I always knew I wanted to become a registered nurse but found the study costs prohibitive. I thought it would be too hard with young kids and a mortgage.

One day, I decided I wanted to go back to working in aged care.

I found out about the Department of Health scholarships delivered through the Australian College of Nursing and decided to apply.

I studied a Bachelor of Nursing as a mature aged student and used the scholarship money to help support me and my family while completing the study.

The scholarship funds allowed me to take leave without pay to finalise my placements, without having to worry about a wage. I was able to complete my studies so much quicker.

I would 100 per cent recommend applying for this scholarship to other nurses. It helped me to graduate faster, accelerate my career and enabled me to learn so many different skills.

I now work as a Regional Quality Manager across 6 sites in southern NSW, from Merimbula to Sydney.

I’m passionate about providing the best care for older people. As a quality manager, I now use my experience to guide our teams in making sure the quality of care we provide is the best we can.

Quality of life for older people encompasses everything. It’s about using a holistic view that looks at those individual life choices regarding their care.

I strongly believe in learning about the life stories of older people.

It’s about knowing your resident, knowing their history, knowing what brought them here to aged care.

It’s about keeping them connected to their community in some way.

I’ve seen a lot of changes across aged care, including improvements in the use of technology that helps to provide better care. There is a lot more user-friendly technology than ever before, which helps to give people more lifestyle choices.

It’s not 24/7 bingo these days, it’s using Zoom and watching Netflix, although I have to say everyone still loves bingo!

There are a lot more career opportunities in aged care that people don’t always realise. It can be a really varied and rewarding career. I felt personally I was able to make more of a difference for those residents here in my care.

I once had an old veteran come into one of my homes with chronic pain. He told me there was nothing I could do about it.

Each time I saw him, I checked in with him about the pain and asked him to come on a bit of a journey with me. I spoke with his GP about his pain medications, and we worked with the physio.

Over several months, I know I helped to improve his quality of life – and that has meant a lot to me.

I can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives, and that’s what brings me back every day.’

Find out about other initiatives for aged care nurses on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Let's change aged care, together

Every Australian should feel confident about accessing high quality and safe aged care, when and where they need it.

The changes mean older Australians will have greater choice and control, services that respect and meet their needs, and support to stay independent as they age.

To find out more and help design the changes, visit the Get Involved page or call 1800 318 209.

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The Department of Health and Aged Care acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.