Dianne started working as a personal care assistant in aged care when her children were young.
“I often looked at the registered nurses and thought perhaps one day I would like to do that. I decided to apply for a registered nurses’ scholarship, and I got it!”
Dianne studied while she was working and became a registered nurse, and then went on to make use of further government scholarships for postgraduate qualifications. She now works as an associate unit manager in regional Victoria.
It’s no secret that workforce attraction and retention has been the number one issue across the aged care sector for a number of years.
There is some good news to report.
Latest data shows increased supply of workers
Job advertisement data from SEEK shows that the supply of workers to the aged care sector has increased in recent months. Between January and May 2023, there was a 30% increase in applications per job ad for aged care nursing roles – suggesting there are more candidates available in the sector.
We also saw a higher number of nurses eligible for the first Aged Care Registered Nurse Payments – over 34,000 nurses than what was anticipated.
Largest ever wage rise for the sector
In more good news, the Government has committed to funding the 15% pay increase, including on-costs. $11.3 billion over 4 years provides for the largest ever wage increase for the Australian aged care workforce.
What career support is available for registered nurses?
The Aged Care Nursing Clinical Placements program will support up to 5,250 Bachelor/Master of nursing students (prioritising second and third year students) with well-supported clinical placements in the care and support sector, particularly aged care. The program exposes nursing students to the range of rewarding career pathways with a focus on gerontological nursing.
The Aged Care Transition to Practice Program provides nurses with mentoring, training and support at the start of their career. The program aims to attract and retain new aged care nurses by offering vital support to nurses beginning in the sector. This will help boost the attractiveness of aged care nursing and highlight the exciting and unique opportunities that exist for aged care nurses. We’ve had almost 1000 participants in the program so far.
Download the Nursing Opportunities Factsheet here.
“The best thing about the program was the support and mentorship you receive. This gives you confidence to be able to do your job and give the best possible care to your residents. If like me, aged care is your passion, ask your employer to put you through the program,” said Lucas, who completed the program in Tasmania.
In 2022, over 350 scholarships were awarded to nurses, personal care workers and allied health workers. A new round of scholarships is due to begin in August 2023.
Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Professor Alison McMillan calls upon employers to support staff to take advantage of all the career support that is available.
“Nurses play an integral role in providing high quality care for older people. These opportunities aim to enable nurses to develop their careers in the aged care sector.
I’d encourage employers to make sure their staff are aware of every opportunity available to support their nursing staff in their aged care careers.”
After a long career working in aged care, from starting as a personal care assistant and now an associate nursing unit manager, Dianne still loves her job.
“It’s just such a wonderful job. If it wasn’t for the scholarships, I just wouldn’t be here working and doing what I love.”
Find out more about opportunities in nursing for aged care on the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website.