Working in Aged Care
A large number of Australian’s are nearing retirement, and with this comes a great opportunity for growth in the aged care sector. If you’re nearing the completion of your schooling and deciding what’s next or looking for a life-changing career, a job as an aged care worker may be right for you.
Before you take the next step, it’s important to understand 1) what working in aged care entails, 2) what qualifications and training you will need, 3) if there are any opportunities for work experience and volunteering and 4) how to break into the industry and gain that crucial first job.
AGED CARE WORKER DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
When you’re an aged care nurse or a general aged care worker, every day will be different. While it can be challenging, providing care for the elderly is also an incredibly rewarding experience. Regardless of whether you’re on the floor doing the nursing rounds or working behind the scenes in the kitchen, your primary goal remains the same – to provide high quality care for residents. Some examples of the daily duties and responsibilities of the various roles within an aged care facility may include:
- Helping residents with their daily routine
- Administering medication
- Delivering specialist aged care services
- Ensuring residents have access to medical services, both within the facility and externally
- Providing healthy, nutritionally-balanced food and catering that matches individual dietary requirements
- Monitoring the health of residents and documenting their health accordingly
- Providing assistance in changing, bathing and other personal help where required
- Communicating with residents and their family regarding care, health and other matters
- Managing resourcing and allocation of staff
- Running social events, workshops, off-site excursions and other activities to promote socialisation and stimulation
- Ensuring the facility is both clean and safe, adhering to OH&S and all other rules and regulations as necessary
For more detail on the different types of aged care jobs, take a look at our brief guide covering ‘Job Opportunities in Aged Care’.
QUALIFICATIONS AND COURSES
There are a few different qualifications relevant to working in the aged care sector, with two of the most common being the following listed below:
- Cert 3 Aged Care
- Cert 4 Aged Care
You can also complete Aged Care courses online if that style of study suits your lifestyle better, although due to the highly social nature of aged care work, a placement within an actual facility is a necessity to fully prepare you for day-to-day work within this field.
STUDENT PLACEMENT INITIATIVES AND CLINICAL EXPERIENCE
While a formal qualification is important, you can’t teach interpersonal skills, compassion, and the ability to build trusting relationships in the same way. It is for this reason, amongst others, that hand’s on experience is invaluable for anyone wanting to work in aged care. If you are currently studying one of the common aged care courses, such as a Certificate III in Aged Care or a Certificate IV in Aged Care, you may be eligible for one of Japara’s student placement initiatives.
Clinical experience gives students the opportunity to put their learning into practice and spread their wings, all under the support and supervision of qualified staff currently working in an Japara facility.
AGED CARE TRAINING & EDUCATION
Even once you’ve landed your first job in aged care, the training and learning doesn’t stop! In order to live up to our core vision, mission and values at Japara, we place a lot of emphasis on ensuring we hire the best in the business and strive for continual improvement. We firmly believe in learning whilst on the job, which is why we provide our staff with regular opportunities to sharpen up their skills and further specialise so they can provide the best care possible for residents, each with varying levels of needs and other specialist requirements. Training includes Alzheimer’s and dementia management, diabetes, mental health, nutrition and hydration. It also includes things such as how to prevent falls, manage issues such as sexuality in older persons, bullying and harassment and infection control. Lastly, our staff have training in things such as occupational health and safety, food safety and handling, chemical handling and emergency training as well as management skills.
HANDY TIPS FOR THOSE WANTING A CAREER IN AGED CARE
If you’re considering becoming an aged care worker or an aged care nurse, there are a few things you can do to increase your employability:
- Complete a relevant aged care course. A few examples include a Certificate 3 in Aged Care, Certificate 4 in Aged Care or a Diploma of Aged Care.
- Get relevant experience – hands on learning is the best way to bring together what you have been learning in the classroom.
- Participate in extracurricular training and upskilling opportunities on the job.
There are a number of job opportunities available in facilities across the country. Current job listings at Japara facilities and more Aged Care careers information and frequently asked questions can be found online.