Elvie is 75 and works in aged care. She chatted to us about the trends she has noticed in regards to retirement age.
“It is often suggested, why I don’t retire, because the staff do not understand why continue to work. I have all my “marbles”, and physically can work the four P.M shifts I do weekly. I enjoy my work, and have had 30 years experience in aged care.
I couldn’t think of anything worse than retirement, and vegetating at home. Sometimes, when the word is brought up about retirement, I think, maybe they have an underlying motive. I consider myself as old school, reliable, and I know my work, and approach. There is a culture in Australia, retire at pensionable age, rely on the government, and to be different, people cannot understand.”
What is the general feeling toward older mature nurses/midwives in your workplace?
The younger graduates I have worked with show respect generally, one in particular I work with paid me an indirect compliment, as I was going on holidays, said “come back soon”, and was a sincere remark.
Do you think older workers are under pressure to prove that they still ‘measure up’?
There is a culture in nursing homes. A lot of the R.N’s want to be the “boss”. It makes it very difficult for the carers, constantly giving orders, writing up orders for other R.N’s in the communication book. I am not like that, I value my fellow co-workers, and the carers are the front line, and very valuable. I haven’t at any time at this stage been asked to measure up, as education is very important, and still learning.
Do older/more experienced workers have a larger workload?
It isn’t that older workers have a larger workload, but sometimes people leave a lot of work for myself and another RN. We find a lot is left up to us to check and put stickers on medication charts, to order new stationary, put in new notes in progress notes. I am often asked to work extra shifts.
In an ideal world – what would you like to see change?
I have spent many years nursing, I think it is dreadful that it has come to the situation where nurses in certain aged care facilities are still paid the same rate of pay as 2008. I am not happy with Fair Work Australia, I think it is most unfair, we are all nurses who work in aged care, some people have been successful with union agreements, the pay is well below what R.Ns’ earn in the public hospitals. We are all treated as second class citizens.
Does stereotyping happen in your hospital? Or are older workers well respected for their wealth of knowledge?
We’d be very interested to know your comments. Leave them below or email us at nurseuncut at nswnma.asn.au
Image credit: anyjazz65