Working as an Aged Care Nurse – the Reality


Jemma has left aged care behind, but wants to share her observations of the sector, which she sees as now ruled by corporate greed.

Private nursing homes are run on the smell of an oily rag. Profit is king. Profit is the god that the owners worship. It is disgraceful. Just when the workers think there are no more cuts that can actually be made, they slice and dice some more. Aged care workers, assistants, care givers, diversional therapists, kitchen and cleaning staff, indeed, the RNs as well, all work like dogs. The number of residents to one RN now is flat out dangerous!

The staff love the residents and the Big Owners rely on this.

Management suck up to the Company and most receive bonuses if costs are kept down. They will all deny this but it’s true.

I have worked in aged care facilities for many years out of my 40 year nursing career. I have lifelong friendships with some beautiful AINs. I kept up my acute care hospital skills at my local public hospital at the same time, not wanting to lose these skills. Thank God I did.

Eventually I could no longer take the short supply of goods needed to care for our elderly. I could no longer take the short staff, the non-attempts to bring staffing up to safe levels, no pads sometimes for days on end with the residents suffering.

The tiny meals, the lack of supper and food NOT left to feed starving residents who had last eaten at 5pm and were hungry during the night. We used to bring in food to give to them! No suppers or supplement food left for insulin-dependent diabetics.

I could no longer take the bickering of the staff, each shift arguing with other shifts, trying to point score because these staff were so overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated that every issue became enormous and emotions ran high all the time amd all I could see was suffering for all.

I now happily work back in Area Health, I love it. I should never have worked anywhere else! There is no shortage of equipment or pads. There is fantastic staff to patient ratios and no bickering.

My parents will never see the inside of an aged care facility. Not because of the hard working core staff but because of the penny pinching owners of private facilities who will not pay the staff, ALL the staff, wages that are in line with State Hospital Award money.

Have you worked in aged care? How true is Jemma’s description?


  1. Absolutely agree with everything – left the corporate world to work in aged care and lasted six weeks. Totally disgusted with the sector. Ratios are what is desperately needed. Lip service is paid to staff safety and wellbeing and person centred care looks great on paper but no one truly funds the staffing levels required to achieve this aim.

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