‘If you’d told me I’d end up an aged care nurse I’d have laughed – but I love it’

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In the aftermath of the vote in the NSW Parliament to defeat an RN24/7 Bill, registered nurse Sally writes:

I’ve been nursing since 1984. An RN since 1992. I’ve always worked in acute care and if you had told me a couple of years ago I would be working in aged care, I would have laughed.

Well I am now working in such a place. And I’m very passionate about aged care and where it’s headed. It’s a specialty just like other areas of nursing. Why you get paid a significant amount less in aged care is beyond me. It’s really opened my eyes.

I had done aged care just doing agency work a few years ago. Had never worked in a nursing home before (though my poor mother had been in several). We moved states so I did a lot of agency and ended up getting lots of shifts in different homes.

The only reason I am permanently in one now is that I accepted a position in a relatively new facility a year ago thinking it would pass the time until a nearby new hospital is completed – but I love where I work so much I decided to stay. Our care manager and our residents have made me feel very passionate about my work and my way of thinking has changed. I could not even fathom there being no RN is such a facility.

Some said to me I will lose a lot of my skills working in an aged care facility. How wrong they were. I have used nearly every bit of experience I possess and I’m grateful for all the skills I do have as I constantly call on them. In the most stressful of situations I have been able to keep calm and call on all those years of experience to get me to make the right decision each shift.

    • If a resident is palliative and in pain and gasping for their last breath or a resident has a nasty fall resulting in hospitalisation but immediately needs first aid.
    • Or there are meds issues or wounds that are chronic and need attention.
    • Or a resident chokes or, as happened a while ago, haematemis resulting in blood clots ALL over the room.
    • Or cardiac issues
    • Or the resident with dementia who is trying to smash windows or hurt other residents as he has no idea what he’s doing in his disease-ravaged mind.

So many things can and do go wrong. Who will be there if there is no RN? Who will look after these politicians’ family members in these homes if they go through such a crisis? And with all due respect why on earth is a politician making such a decision anyway? And while we are at it, why not get rid of RNs in hospitals too?

These are all health care facilities. We need our RNs, whether it’s a clinic, hospital or nursing home or wherever we have them. It’s a decision that should be made by those in healthcare who know what they are talking about. Not a group of politicians who honestly have no idea or experience in the matter. Crazy with a capital C!

We have people in aged care homes as they are unable to care for themselves any more. They are unwell and have complex illness. That’s why they are there and need expert care.

Previously on Nurse Uncut:

1 COMMENT

  1. Good on you Sally! What a refreshing voice! I nursed and chose my career in Aged Care which I loved. I continued my education and participated with any further training and research that I could to improve the quality of care and standards for older people. I was told I was not a real nurse, with a real career. Keep highlighting the importance of your role in providing the professional care our older people have a right to when entering residential care facilities. They have the right to access an RN to make these calls when and if their situation changes. Yes take the RNs out of our hospitals … that would be interesting! I agree totally, how can a politician actually make this call. You are a breath of fresh air Sally! Thank you!

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