How did you end up working in Aged Care?
I left school in year 10 and I had to do something because I didn’t have a job. So I volunteered at St Joseph’s Nursing Home and worked in the Dementia ward as it was known at the time, helping with activities, feeding, exercises, painting nails. Then I did my Cert III in Aged Care at age of 17/18 and went straight from my Cert III to working at Caroona Nursing Home in Goonellabah.
I worked in residential care for about 3 years. I loved it because of all the different people, the residents. You would go in and shower someone, pick out their outfit, put some make up on them and make them feel good about themselves. That’s one thing I really liked about it.
Then I met my husband, moved to Brisbane and didn’t work in Aged Care for year and half. I had a break, had a baby. After my daughter was born we moved back to Lismore and when she was 6 months old I went back to Caroona as a casual and then moved into a different facility. I then did night duty for about 3 years. This fitted in well with the kids…as I’d had another baby by this time.
I decided that I would move into Community Care and applied for a job at St Carthages in 2014. I joined as a Community Care Worker.
What did you like about it?
I think the biggest impact on me was I was never made to feel guilty if I couldn’t work or if I had to go home sick or had to look after myself. I was struck by the kindness of the people here: genuine, kind people who care about the clients, care about what they are doing.
Then what happened?
In 2015, I was asked if I would like to do a 2 week stint in the office back-filling a Support Planner. This involved lots of data entry, phone calls to clients, supporting the team. Toward the end of that 2 weeks, I was asked if I would like to stay on in the office to back-fill in Rostering while they advertised for a new rostering person. I applied for the job and got it, started as part time, moved to full time. I worked in Rostering for 4 years from 2015 to 2019.
What did you like about Rostering?
It was a great team, I got to know and talk to a lot of clients in that position. I enjoyed the thrill of making something fit in terms of rosters and being able to meet the client’s needs, the accomplishment of being able to do that and to fill all the services when you had 6 people phone in sick. Very satisfying!
What happened next?
It was a mentally exhausting job. A position came up for an office based Support Planner and I decided to apply for it and started down that path. This role was all about taking phone calls. I did that for 6 months then went into a Home Care Package Support Planner role. It finally felt like I was where I needed to be. I had accomplished my goal of doing what I wanted to do when I initially did that course back when I was 17.
As a Support Planner you are able to support the clients in a different way to being a CCW. It’s very different to supporting them out in the field but just as rewarding and fulfilling.
I am an organiser and being a Support Planner played to those strengths. You need to be very organised and being able to help clients access the services and support they needed, organising Allied Health referrals, Occupational Therapists etc was very satisfying.
And now you are the Aged Care Team Leader?
Yes – last year, I was offered the opportunity to be Acting Team Leader. I then applied for and was offered the permanent role – I now head up a team of 10 staff.
This role involves supporting all the Aged Care Support Planners with their clients. It’s a bit nerdy but I love structure and I like being able to follow structure, work within the guidelines, make sure that we get the best outcome for all our clients.
We have just recruited a Registered Nurse and the arrival of this person brings with it a whole range of exciting opportunities. I am so committed to this organisation and looking forward to growing with St Carthages.
Without St Carthages, I would not be where I am right now. The opportunity to be able to work my way up and be supported to do that is pretty special.