How can I swap from surgical to aged care nursing?
A registered nurse asks: I have been working in the Operating Room for 30 years and need a change. Can anyone advise me on how to get into aged care as Theatres has become too tedious. Is there a course I can do to help ?
The Aged Care Officer from NSWNMA replies: You should be able to apply for a position in aged care without undertaking further study. However, you have an obligation under your professional code of conduct to ensure you have the necessary skills to practice in your chosen area. In particular, the NMBA code of professional conduct for nurses states:
Nurses are personally accountable for the provision of safe and competent nursing care. It is the responsibility of each nurse to maintain the competence necessary for current practice. Maintenance of competence includes participation in ongoing professional development to maintain and improve knowledge, skills and attitudes relevant to practice in a clinical, management, education or research setting.
Nurses are aware that undertaking activities not within their scopes of practice may compromise the safety of persons in their care. These scopes of practice are based on each nurse’s education, knowledge, competency, extent of experience and lawful authority.
You will need to establish whether you consider you have the necessary skills. Should you consider that you need further training and education there are a number of post graduate gerontology courses you could undertake, such as this example.
If you do not wish to undertake a post graduate course, then you could look at organisations such as Alzheimers Australia or Australian Association of Gerontology who run short courses and one day events.
If you have a professional question, email us at nurseuncut @ nswnma.asn.au