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Nursing interns get new perspective

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EIGHT new nursing interns have arrived at St Peter's at Lane Cove, one of Catholic Healthcare’s residential aged care services, with some saying they’ve gained ‘new perspectives on life’ since stepping into the world of aged care.

Many of the interns are embarking on the first in what will be a variety of placements. They are working at the Lane Cove aged care service for a fortnight, rather than studying at their regular home base at the University of Sydney campus in Darlington, in inner Sydney. 

As part of their Bachelor of Nursing degree, students are required to complete more than 860 hours in clinical placement over the three years of a full-time course.

The students say they feel particularly pleased to be spending the beginning of these hours in an environment as positive as St Peter’s.

“The people are wonderful,” says Britney, one of the students. “It’s super rewarding work – you can see that the residents really appreciate it. Knowing you can bring a smile to someone’s face is just great.”

St Peter’s is one of the newer care villages in the Lane Cove area, built in 2010 and featuring an onsite chapel, café and Willoughby Council branch library. The service offers accommodation for up to 93 residents, who regularly enjoy walks in the beautiful grounds of the home or take part in the local metropolitan activities. The setting also appeals to the students, who spend most days enjoying the natural beauty of this Northern Sydney suburb.

“The students have just been excellent,” says St Peter’s Residential Aged Care Manager, Dan Brice. “We’re so pleased to have such bright, bubbly and skilled nurses working with us. They certainly have very bright futures.”

The University of Sydney Nursing School boasts an 87% student course satisfaction rating – ranking the university fourth of 32 across the country. The university also achieved the title of number one in Australia for research and educational excellence in the QS University Rankings by Subject, a highly contested title in the tertiary education sector.

“We are committed to providing the best quality of care to our residents in all Catholic Healthcare services, nurturing strong connections with a highly rated university like Usyd is essential in continuing to delivering this quality of care, by ensuring we are attracting talented individuals to join our teams.”

Dan says that in addition to the students’ positive experience during the clinical placement, the residents have also reaped the benefits of working with a younger group of individuals.

“The impact of intergenerational care can’t be ignored as some say it is the direction in which aged care is heading. The residents at St. Peter’s have loved the presence of the students, it has lifted the spirit within the home.” 

Dan’s projection of the aged care industry is shared by many in the healthcare field, who are actively working towards an upbeat future of the aged care experience for residents and their families.

Representatives from aged care entities all across Australia are reviewing the way the ‘myth’ of aged care can be debunked for the new staff members needed to support the industry in the coming years, particularly with the wave of Baby Boomers projected to double the number of individuals in aged care by 2050.

Dan says that if graduates heard what the students at St Peter’s had to say, there would be little problem hiring future nurses and carers.  

“It [working here] definitely has given us a new perspective on life,” the students say. “It’s just a really nice environment. They’ve made a real effort to make the residents as comfortable as possible.”