Combining continuous learning with compassion

Publish date: 1 February 2024

The Registered Nurses (RN) at Bethanie are well versed on not only their clinical role, but the specific way that Bethanie cares for their residents.  Our newest RN’s recently spent two days training in clinical excellence, while learning what additional personal skills it takes to be a Bethanie team member.

“Nursing in aged care requires a special kind of person,” said Senior Clinical Nurse Educator Renae Nyasvimbo.  “They are great at their job, but they also love communicating with people and really connecting with the complete individual.”

Mayilla Sesay is one of those special people.  With two young children, Mayilla decided to upskill from careworker duties and study to become an RN.  Graduating just one year ago, she is absolutely thriving in her Bethanie role and has found her place caring for older people. 

“I had been a carer for a while, I wanted to do more, and I knew I could do that with nursing” she said.

“I am particularly touched working in palliative care.

“I am so grateful to spend time with an individual, and to be able to share in their vulnerability is incredible special.

“I have learned so much about myself, and they have shown me how to appreciate life.”

With over 30 years’ experience as an RN, Tam Vaithinadhan only started in aged care with Bethanie in 2023.  Coming from the ICU and CCU specialties, with a stint in Oncology, Tam was interested in the whole-of-person experience that she could explore in aged care.

“It is so nice to spend time with the residents,” said Tam.

“I’m enjoying getting to understand them well, asking them ‘what are your needs?’ and being able to help them.”

Tam is particularly enjoying looking at every part of the resident in front of her.

“There are lots of challenging elements all coming at once for some residents; it might be dementia or delirium, and wound care.  So instead of dealing with one issue at a time, its learning to handle the broad spectrum.”

The difference from the acute setting is also stark. “I’m used to admitting a patient one day and discharging them soon after.  Now these residents are living at the site, we are seeing them every day and getting to know everything about them; it’s a privilege.”

It’s because of this intimate knowledge of the residents that the team are attuned to noticing small changes.

“One of our residents recently had a change in attitude and was unsettled where he had been friendly and respectful previously.  “I could see something had changed, and with a GP’s support asked for a full blood test,” said Tam.

Used to referring to blood works as a first step, Tam immediately saw some alarming results and the residents was admitted to hospital immediately.

“He hugged me and thanked me when he was leaving, and I was so happy to have been able to help him.”

Similarly, Mayilla’s kind approach helped a resident with dementia who had been restless overnight. “She was struggling to sleep, and instead of insisting she stay in bed, I had her sit with me while I did my paperwork; it calmed her and with a little break she was happy to head off to sleep.”

At Bethanie, it’s imperative that our RN’s are making the most of their continuous learning opportunities.  Being present and attentive for their residents comes with their caring qualities.

“We invest heavily in our team members, because working in aged care relies so heavily on forging meaningful relationships with residents in order to provide exemplary care; we want our people to love their work and stay with us,” said Sylvia Finn-Marriner, Manager Organisational Capability.

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