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Nursing is a role deserving of appreciation – the backbone of the healthcare system, their round-the-clock commitment to care truly makes a difference in the lives of those in their care.

Today on International Nurses Day, we’re thanking the nurses who work across our Aged Care Services for the compassion and exceptional care they deliver to our customers every day.

From administering medication to managing customers’ needs, providing them with social and emotional support, and everything in between, nurses are vital to our customers’ health and wellbeing. 

Passion for helping others

Clinical nurse Xin Hu always knew she wanted to make a career out of caring for others.

“When I was deciding on which university course to study, I was torn between nursing and social work because I have always liked helping other people,” Xin said.

“I decided on nursing because I was passionate about health care and wanted to learn more specialised skills such as wound care.”

In the six years that Xin has been a nurse, she has never regretted her decision.

“I enjoy developing my skills and seeing improvement in my customers’ health. It is rewarding to know that I have helped them improve their mobility, heal their wounds, and improve their overall wellbeing.”

Xin has been a part of AnglicareSA’s Community Aged Care team for four years, providing specialised nursing care in customers’ homes, and said International Nurses Day provided an opportunity to recognise the vital support nurses provide every day.

“It’s a day to acknowledge the role of nurses and value their contribution to the community. Being recognised in this way motivates me to keep working to provide quality care.”

Compassionate nursing that makes a difference

For more than three years, Akash Gill has been one of the friendly nurses making the rounds at AnglicareSA’s Grange residential aged care site.

However, Akash did not always envision that he would become a nurse.

While studying accounting at university in 2019 he realised the world of finance was not for him.

“It was not something I was interested in,” he said.

“The Covid pandemic highlighted a significant need for healthcare workers, including nurses. At the time, I was caring for my grandpa and the things I would do to assist him were developing a nature of compassion that complemented nursing.”

Akash said he loved the strong focus on resident care as an enrolled nurse, and felt honoured to be able to advocate for their rights and health care.

“Some of the customers I care for are in a vulnerable position, and I feel privileged to be able to make sure services are safe and meeting their needs,” he said.

Akash said the compassion and empathy required to provide person-centred care was crucial for nursing and what made it such a fulfilling career.

“It can be an emotionally demanding job that requires a solid understanding of each person’s needs and the skills to help meet them. Being passionate about nursing and each customer makes the outcomes much more rewarding.”

Akash said International Nurses Day provided an opportunity for nurses to learn from each other.

“We might have different thoughts, processes, and skills, but we are all working together to provide continuous, high-quality health care to our customers,” he said.  

AnglicareSA’s Westbourne Park Residential Aged Care site is like Lynne’s second home.

“I feel like I have always been a part of this place,” Lynne said.

For more than 20 years, Lynne has been actively involved at the site – first as an employee, then as a volunteer when she retired.

A Westbourne Park local, there was no other place that Lynne would prefer to volunteer. Passionate about her community, she knew she could make a difference.

“I have an ability to interact with residents and find it to be my passion,” she said.

“Despite retiring, I was still returning to the site regularly to visit the residents I once cared for. I thought I should officially become a volunteer so I could continue catching up with the staff and residents.

“Westbourne Park was the obvious choice – this is where I feel completely comfortable.

“It’s rewarding as a volunteer to see the residents and know what I do makes a difference.”

Now, you’ll see Lynne – or maybe you’ll hear her singing echoing down the halls first – having a ball with the residents at her two monthly programs, Morning Tea with Friends, and Sing-along. 

“I try to run programs that encourage the residents to reminisce,” Lynne said.

Volunteering in aged care has been a wonderful experience for Lynne and she encourages everyone to give it a try.  

“The residents in aged care are just like you or me, except they’ve lived a longer life,” she said.

“Everyone should think about the skills they have and how they could use them to volunteer.”

Customer Wellness Coordinator Jennifer Pilling said the Westbourne Park team were grateful to have a volunteer like Lynne who makes such a difference with each visit.

“Lynne has dedicated so much of her time to care for others at Westbourne Park,” Jennifer said.

“She is wonderful with the residents and makes each one feel special and welcomed.”

You can Register Your Interest online here, or alternatively view our current volunteer opportunities here.

Camaraderie, rigour, and discipline – these are words we commonly associate with the military, but for Deane, they were part of his daily routine when he joined the army in 1954 for National Service. 

“We were trained as soldiers,” Deane said.

“We were taught how to fire guns, dig trenches, ruck march, and throw grenades.”

The 89-year-old ‘Nasho’, who lives at our Westbourne Park residential aged care site, was just 19 when he was conscripted to three months of compulsory military training at Woodside Barracks.

“I wasn’t upset that I was conscripted – I would have signed up even if it was voluntary,” he said.

“I was proud of having the duty to join the National Service and do something for my country.”

While it wasn’t always easy living and training at the barracks, Deane looks back at his time in the National Service with fond memories.  

“There were a lot of larrikins, bad language, and bending of the rules at the barracks,” he said with a laugh.

“Underneath it all, however, we were young men who believed in our country and our role in protecting its future.”

Black and white image  from Deane's days in the army.

Every year, the serviceman dons his medals, a symbol of his gallantry, with pride.

“Anzac Day has always been an important day to me. I attend dawn services where I can and wear my medals,” he said.

“It’s a day to reflect and remember old traditions and ways of life so they are not lost. We should all try to embody the values that the Anzacs represented, such as camaraderie, helping others, courage, and dedication.”

Deane said commemorating the sacrifices made by the Anzacs past and present in the early dawn light, it was important to consider the fallen soldiers who never made it home.  

“I feel fortunate that, during my time as a Nasho, I did not experience the same horrors as some soldiers past and present did. ”

Deane will lead the Anzac Day service for residents, their loved ones and staff at Westbourne Park, reading the ‘Ode to Remembrance’ and ‘In Flanders Fields’ poems.   

Each of our six residential care sites will mark Anzac Day with various celebrations honouring those who have served and are still serving our country.

There’s nothing like a healthy home cooked meal and AnglicareSA’s Community Aged Care team is learning how to deliver just that through a new series of information sessions for care workers.

Developed and presented by AnglicareSA Executive Chef Andrew McIntyre, the six-person sessions to be attended by all care workers in the coming months are based on feedback from customers on what they like to eat and what meals they want the team to be able to prepare for them as part of their service.

Topics covered in the sessions held in the classroom and the kitchen are:

  • Basics of nutrition and meal planning
  • Culinary techniques for home cooks
  • Specialised diets and allergies
  • Time management and batch cooking
  • Practical cookery presentation

“Upon completing the Home Care Cookery sessions, our care workers will have gained valuable culinary skills and knowledge to provide nutritious and personalised meals for their customers,” Andrew said.

“This workshop content will upskill our home care workers, allowing them to improve the wellbeing of those in their care through the preparation of freshly cooked and satisfying meals.”

Recipes including beef casserole, vegetable soup, and scrambled eggs with bacon and mushrooms are given to participants as part of the course along with information on nutrition.

Home care worker Brenda was among one of the first groups to take part in the information sessions and said she found the presentation informative.

“First of all, I didn’t know how to cook mushrooms and now I do,” Brenda said. “It was great having the chef explain the benefits of different cooking processes and techniques and knowing when something is working or not working.

“Every customer has different dietary needs, so as care workers it is good for us to have this extra knowledge about nutrition and what additional ingredients are needed in a dish.”

The development of Home Care Cookery sessions followed the reintroduction of AnglicareSA’s Community Aged Care Customer Advisory structure in 2023 which included customer experience phone surveys.

A total of seven separate focus groups attended by customers also met throughout the year with topics covered including staff training and skills development, cooking and meal planning, customer journey, workforce optimisation, and staff recruitment and retention.

The Customer Advisory Body will continue to meet throughout 2024.

From the moment you enter the home of AnglicareSA home care customer Antonia, you are welcomed with open arms and treated like family.

On this particular day however, Antonia was even more thrilled to throw open her front door as it was a visit from her favourite AnglicareSA volunteer, Cielo.

Antonia, who moved to Australia from Malta 72 years ago, and Cielo, who has been in Australia for four years since relocating from Colombia, formed an instantaneous bond and connection through culture and caring for others.

“I love her,” Antonia beams with pride sitting around the table in the home she and her late husband built.

“She is like family to me and when she visits me, I feel alive and we just talk – I really appreciate what she is doing for me.

Antonia and Cielo stand together looking at photos on the mantelpiece.

“She isn’t here as a carer. It means a lot to me that she comes and we spend time together.”

Cielo sought out volunteering opportunities after arriving in Australia as a way to help her forge her new life in a new country and community.

Initially filling roles in administration, she knew she had so much more to offer and asked if there was a way of visiting someone’s home to spend time with them.

“Coming to visit Antonia is just different,” Cielo said. “Every time is different. You learn a lot and you leave here with so much energy – just incredible.

“It’s about a connection and it does just as much for me as it does for Antonia, our bond helps us both.”

AnglicareSA volunteer coordinator Sadie Sandery also enjoys gathering at Antonia’s house with Cielo for a cup of tea and great conversation.

She said the social impact of volunteers complemented the services and care provided by the home care teams.

Antonia and Cielo hug each other while sitting on the couch.

“It just speaks to the heart and core of all of AnglicareSA’s values what we stand for, and to be part of that is just incredible.”

For Antonia, who dedicated much of her life volunteering for various organisations, clubs, and associations in Adelaide, it’s simply nice to help people.

“It doesn’t matter what culture, where you come from, or what language you speak, we are all the same and there should be love and respect and we should be helping people.

“If you can help someone then just do it.” 

At AnglicareSA, we’re proud to have around 300 volunteers who give their time to support people in need. Volunteers are an integral part of our support services — their generosity and commitment enable us to deliver a broad range of services to the South Australian community.

You can Register Your Interest online here, or alternatively view our current volunteer opportunities here.