‘Our residents are all like grandparents to me!’ says registered nurse Abby Luat who’s recently joined the care team at Selwyn Village’s Ivan Ward Centre. Abby has previously worked in various nursing environments across intensive care, accident and emergency and general medical in the public hospital setting, but finds a career in residential aged care particularly rewarding.
‘What I enjoy most about my role is being able to really get to know the residents and their families. When I’m doing my medication rounds, I like to stop for a while with each resident and chat to them about what they did when they were younger and how things were in their youth. Residents enjoy reminiscing and sharing stories about days gone by, or talking about their loved ones. It’s comforting for them and makes for a more personal connection between resident and nurse. You get a much better understanding of what’s important to them and their individual care needs that way, than you would if working in a busy general hospital situation.’
She also enjoys the participatory care aspect of nursing at Selwyn, and the fact that residents set the pace in terms of their daily routine, what they like to do and when they like to do it. ‘Selwyn’s participatory approach to care is very different from where I’ve worked before. In other care environments, residents may not have the same flexibility or choice as to which engagement-in-life programmes they’d like to participate in, for example, or how they’d like to spend the day. At Selwyn, we ask our residents what they’d like to do; people are treated as individuals and are consulted on their care plans and daily activities. So they’re more comfortable and feel much more at home, as a result.’
Abby would recommend residential aged care to other nurses who are looking for a meaningful and rewarding change of role. The friendly, supportive team environment at Selwyn and the authentic relationships that are formed with colleagues, residents and their families make it ‘one big family’ in her view. Having permanent shifts and fixed rosters is also helpful when it comes to family life and planning what to do on your days off.
‘It’s not like being at work at all,’ says Abby, who lived with her grandparents when growing up in her native Philippines. ‘Taking care of older people is my passion, and I think of our residents as my very own grandparents. Spending time in getting to know them really makes my day!’
For information on nursing opportunities at The Selwyn Foundation, visit our careers page.