“It broke my heart”: An RN reflects on the state of Aged Care

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Nurse Rhianna worked in Aged Care before becoming a hospital nurse. What she saw in those residential Aged Care facilities truly broke her heart. 

While I have now graduated and no longer work in aged care, I did so for almost five years while studying. And it broke my heart.

Ratios in aged care for a resident, who is a person, mean the difference between a five-minute spray in the bathroom and getting the shower and attention they deserve.

A conversation about the resident’s life, needs, and history? Impossible – because staff don’t have the time.

In aged care we were always hot and running around because we did not have enough staff to take the time to properly look after every resident, no matter how hard we tried.

Not having mandated ratios in aged care not only affects the people who live there, it also affects the staff. Nurse burnout, injury, exhaustion – all are more likely to occur without proper staffing ratios.

We need to remember that for the elderly who live in aged care, it is their home. And they are human beings deserving of the respect and dignity that can only be delivered when the government introduces shift-by-shift ratios in aged care.

This article was originally posted in the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association publication, Lamp. To join, visit their website.


  1. Not all nursing homes are bad.I have worked in age care for12 years both nursing homes treated residents with love and respect.

  2. I couldn’t agree more 🙁 aged care nursing was what I call a soul crushing job. I had to leave as I developed anxiety and panic attacks from the excessive workload with unrealistic expectations and from feeling unable to take care of the residents as they deserve. Mandatory ratios are a must!


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