A bright future for aged care nursing

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2022

Graduate Nurses

When Esther Osei-Takyi and Sam Watson completed their nursing degrees, they were hoping to get into a graduate program to help them transition from studying to the role of Registered Nurse. They were pleased to be accepted into Brightwater’s graduate nursing program and began working at our Madeley Residential Aged Care home in March.

Graduate programs are not compulsory for nurses but they are offered in many healthcare settings including aged care. They provide supervision, support and structure to enable newly qualified nurses to consolidate and develop their clinical and professional practice.

For Sam and Esther, it is a welcome opportunity to build confidence and experience.

“It's a little bit more think on your feet and using a lot of clinical reasoning and so far, it’s been great. It’s definitely not what I expected aged care nursing to be like but I'm actually really liking it,” Sam said.

After completing their inductions, Esther and Sam soon had opportunities to put their knowledge into practice, under the guidance of experienced onsite mentors.

“I've used my critical thinking to choose the right dressings to put on residents. I've done a doctor's rounds which you might not even get the opportunity to do in the hospital,” Esther said.

For both graduates, family background played a part in their choice of nursing as a profession.

Sam’s mum is a nurse which made him think it could be the right choice for him as well.

“I've always found myself to be pretty caring person but I can also kind of detach myself from the situation if needed. So I'm caring, but I also don't take everything on emotionally. And as my mum said, that's a great trait to have as a nurse.”

Esther is originally from Ghana, where she began her nursing studies before moving to Australia where she completed her degree. In Ghana, aging loved ones often remain in the family home and Esther helped to look after her great Grandmother who lived well beyond one hundred. She is delighted to work with older people again.

“Listening to them, and then being able to solve some issues for the residents - it makes me happy.”

For the residents themselves, Sam and Esther are a welcome addition to the Brightwater family.

Hatisha Padayachee is the coordinator of Brightwater’s Graduate Program. She oversees all aspects of the professional development including a placement with the home care team, visiting clients living in their own home. Hatisha speaks highly of both nurses undertaking the current program.

“Sam and Esther are very enthusiastic, clinically competent nurses that we are privileged to have. They actively engage with residents and emanate compassion, care and professionalism. It is a pleasure observing their personal and professional transition into the role.”

Brightwater’s graduate program aims to both attract a new generation of nurses and to retain them by nurturing their professional growth and, for some at least, supporting their development into aged care leaders of the future.

The next graduate program will commence later this year and Hatisha says as with Sam and Esther, she is always looking for registered nurses with the right qualities for aged care.

“We want nurses who are clinically competent as we are dealing with residents’ lives. But also those who demonstrate patience, compassion and tolerance. If a graduate can fulfill those fundamental requirements, they are someone that I would want working for me, or looking after me.”

Sam and Esther will complete the graduate program soon, after what they describe as a largely positive experience. Reflecting on the program, Esther says it is a good opportunity for anyone coming into nursing.

“If you've got the skills and you think you are empathetic and you have all the qualities, I think Brightwater will be good for you, because there are so many opportunities here.”