What does an aged care nurse do?

As in most nursing specialisations, aged care nurses are required to perform a range of tasks throughout their day, managing patient care schedules, dispensing medicines, recording their observations and administering treatments such as wound care and rehabilitative therapies. You may also be called upon to coordinate or supervise recreational activities designed to enrich the lives of your patients, communicate with family members about a patients condition and perform basic hygiene tasks such as changing bed sheets or bathing a patient.

Tasks:

  • Assist with self-medication
  • Carry out resident care-programs
  • Help with vital daily tasks, such as dressing, bathing and toileting
  • Liaise with physical and mental health care professionals
  • Coordinate recreational activities

What skills do I need to be an aged care nurse?

Being an aged care nurse can be a challenging career, however the rewards are great. Caring for those who have lived full, rich lives and now require daily assistance demands compassion and respect. The elderly present their own unique set of challenges as patients; nurses must be capable of coping with patients who may be experiencing confusion in addition to physical frailty. An understanding of the nutritional needs of the elderly is important, as well being able to identify and manage symptoms of the physical and mental conditions that have their onset later in life such as arthritis or dementia. Caring for the elderly is a physical, hands-on job that may require you to take on long shifts and spend time on your feet.

Skills/attributes
  • Observant and meticulous in record keeping
  • Respectful, patient and compassionate
  • Organised and careful with records
  • Communicates well with all people
  • Sensitive to different cultural beliefs

Specialisations

There are various career paths you can take within the aged care sector, for example you may choose to focus on mental health or rehabilitation. Both enrolled nurses and registered nurses work in the aged care sector.

Oncology Nurse

An oncology nurse in the aged care system helps older patients deal or recover from cancer. They help to administer treatment and educate both the patient and their family about the illness.

Mental Health Nurse

Working in the aged care sector will require you to have a good knowledge of the conditions that afflict older patients, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s or senile depression. Often a close liaison with family members or carers is necessary to ensure that care regimes are being upheld.

Occupational Therapy Nursing

An occupational therapy nurse helps the elderly stay active and mobile for as long as they can. They design programs for stretching and exercise to maintain muscle and joint health in their patients.

Study pathways for aged care nurses

Aged care nursing is open to both enrolled nurses (ENs) and registered nurses (RNs). You may choose to focus your studies on the aged care sector when you begin or complete a specialised course of study on gerontology later in your career.

Getting Started

Find vocational nursing courses that will allow you to work as an EN in the aged care sector.

Skill Building

Gain an understanding of aged care nursing and push your career further.

Professional Development

Add a qualification in gerontology to your professional skillset.

Industry Recognition

If you are a nurse in Australia, you will need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board after you graduate from your studies.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your nursing career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for aged care nursing jobs.

Job Prospects and Salaries

The demand for qualified and energetic nurses in the aged care sector is set to grow over time as the Australian population ages. Strong growth is expected in the next five years with job opportunities remaining high.