An aged care nursing course: the next step in your career

As Australia’s population ages, the demand for skilled and compassionate aged care is growing. Explore the unique rewards waiting for registered nurses who choose to move into aged care. And discover our dedicated postgraduate aged care nursing course, the Graduate Certificate in Aged Care, that can equip you with the specialised skills and knowledge you need to thrive in this truly fulfilling field.

The growing need for aged care nurses

The latest government figures show that 16 per cent of the Australian population is now older than 65. For comparison, it was eight per cent in 1970 and 12 per cent in 1995.

So with the ageing population trend only becoming more pronounced, the demand for aged care nurses is increasing – as is the chance for you to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our ageing residents.

This demographic shift isn’t just a statistic; it’s reshaping the landscape of healthcare services across the nation. As the population ages, people need specialised care and support, meaning the role of aged care nurses has never been more crucial.

This was highlighted in the government’s 2021 Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. As a result of the commission’s report, the law was changed to require all aged care providers to ensure that “at least one registered nurse is on site, and on duty, at all times at the residential facility”.

Moreover, the implications of this change are far-reaching, touching every aspect of healthcare provision. From bustling urban centres to remote rural communities, there’s a pressing need for skilled nurses to take their place in aged care settings.

Why choose aged care nursing

Transitioning into aged care nursing opens doors to unique rewards while making a real difference. One of the most significant is the opportunity to forge genuine connections and build meaningful relationships. As an aged care nurse, you have the privilege of being a source of support and comfort for individuals who may feel vulnerable or isolated.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the path to aged care nursing also presents its fair share of challenges. Aged care nurses need to navigate the complexities of providing care to individuals facing age-related health challenges, chronic illnesses or cognitive decline.

Navigating these challenges requires a deep understanding of the unique needs and preferences of each patient, coupled with empathy, patience and a listening ear. By embodying these qualities, you can offer support and dignity to those under your care.

Where you could work

As the demand for aged care nurses rises, so does your choice of where to work. You could choose a role in an aged care facility or a nursing home, providing direct nursing care and support to residents. Here, you’ll also collaborate with healthcare teams to develop and deliver personalised care plans. Alternatively, some hospitals have specialised units or wards dedicated to geriatric care. Registered nurses in these units care for ageing patients admitted for acute medical conditions, surgeries or rehabilitation.

Other avenues to explore include home care services, palliative care services, respite care facilities and community health centres. You may also opt to work in a hospice, providing compassionate end-of-life care and support to patients and their families.

Transitioning into aged care nursing

Besides clinical knowledge, as a registered nurse you bring a wealth of qualities to the table. In many ways you’re already well-equipped to make the transition into aged care. You’ve honed a diverse set of transferable skills that are applicable across various healthcare settings. Your ability to assess, plan, implement and evaluate patient care will be useful. Moreover, your capacity to connect with patients on a personal level will be invaluable in any aged care setting. Plus, your compassion shines through as you provide support, comfort and understanding to people during challenging times.

In aged care, effective communication is key to understanding residents’ needs and preferences. So your skills will play a crucial role in fostering trust and building relationships. And your ability to adapt to changing circumstances, prioritise tasks and work collaboratively within interdisciplinary teams will stand you in good stead when it comes to providing comprehensive and holistic care to patients.

So, as a registered nurse, you’ve already got many of the qualities necessary to excel in aged care.

However, there are advanced skills that will put you at the forefront of aged care nursing. And you get them through completing an aged care nursing course.

A team of ages care nurses in surgical masks

Introducing Charles Sturt’s dedicated aged care nursing course

The Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Aged Care) offers a comprehensive curriculum designed to equip you with the specialised knowledge required to care for ageing patients.

You’ll cover everything from clinical governance in aged care and advanced clinical assessment of older persons, to contemporary issues in gerontology. Plus, you can choose from a range of electives that fit with your career goals. They include pharmacology, management, palliative care or rural healthcare – to name just a few.

This postgraduate nursing qualification is available entirely online, so you can upskill while you work. And you could graduate in as little as eight months of part-time study. It also has Commonwealth supported places (CSP) available. A CSP means you can apply for a HECS-HELP loan to pay for your studies and defer repayment until you earn above a certain amount.

Chat to our team of uni advisers for more details.