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As a teenager in Mauritius, an island-nation famed for its palm-fringed beaches, Dayolen Kistnen lived in a multi-generational household – the norm in Mauritian society – when his aunty was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

“In Mauritius, when an elder is unwell, we look after them at home because [residential] aged care isn’t really a thing there,” says Dayolen, who was 15 at the time.

“When my dad’s sister became very ill, it came naturally to me to nurse her, to look after her.”

It was then that Dayolen realised he wanted to become a nurse.

“I told my parents I could see myself being a nurse one day and they were open to the idea, but back there, it’s not something that has great social status.”

A new home

It wasn’t until he moved to Melbourne at 22 that Dayolen had the opportunity to act on his passion for nursing.

In 2014, he landed a job with an agency as an enrolled nurse and has vivid memories of his first shift in a Melbourne hospital. Like many new nurses, he had the jitters, checking things twice and three times to ensure he didn’t make a mistake.

“Suddenly you’re in a position where people are at their most vulnerable, and they’re relying on you to care for them,” he says.

Later that year, he enrolled in a Bachelor of Nursing at ACU’s Melbourne Campus, so he could further develop his skills to become a registered nurse.

Dayolen loved his final placement in an emergency department but felt a calling to try other types of nursing.

“The thing that was missing in emergency was that continued contact with the patient,” he says. “Before you know it, the patient is transferred to a different ward or they’re discharged. For me, too often it felt like you didn’t know if you’d really made a difference.”

A calling realised  

Dayolen found his true “calling” in aged care, where “the nurse’s ongoing connection with the resident is crucial”.

He graduated with a Master of Clinical Nursing at ACU in 2018, and is now the is the facility manager of mecwacare’s O’Mara House in Traralgon, a city in the Gippsland region of Victoria.

“Even in management, I think that being good at your job comes back to having a caring nature,” he says. “It’s about being able to connect with people and having a sense of closeness and empathy towards others that really makes a huge difference.”

Dayolen is pursuing his MBA with an eye on his future goal to become a CEO in the aged care sector.

But although he’s come a long way, Dayolen hasn’t forgotten his roots. He maintains a strong connection with his Mauritian homeland, and Indian heritage. And he still remembers the time he spent with his aunty, caring for her when she was at her most vulnerable.

“If she were alive, and she had a chance to see what I was doing with my life, I think she would be proud,” he says.

Are you ready for an experience like Dayolen’s?

ACU’s  Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing is ideal for registered nurses looking to upskill and develop areas of expertise. It has been designed to expand knowledge and skills in clinical nursing and practice.

ACU Online offers four specialisations – gerontological nursing, correctional health, medical and renal.

In the correction health specialisation, the mental health of prisoners is extensively covered. Modules include the importance of physical health, healthcare management, and consequences of accelerated ageing of the prison population.

Older persons require a multi-faceted approach to care and the gerontological specialisation will support you to undertake risk assessment, clinical decision-making and to implement risk mitigation strategies to ensure the delivery of quality and safe person-centred care.

The medical specialisation explores acute and chronic medical conditions across multiple biological systems with modules covering integral anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and the significance of polypharmacy in our ageing population. It covers  include common respiratory conditions, the significance of infection control and the implications of hospital acquired infections.

The renal specialisation explores acute renal conditions as well as living with renal disease and the role of the nurse in primary health care for people suffering chronic renal disease. You will explore the role of vascular access devices in the care of the person with renal disease and infection control considerations, haemo and peritoneal dialysis.

ACU also offers a Graduate Certificate of Aged Care Management. Through this course you’ll gain specialised theoretical and professional knowledge and skills for an aged care environment that requires safe, effective, and efficient health service delivery in providing quality care to older people.

Explore your options with ACU Online. Visit ACU for information on the Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing and Postgraduate programs for Nurses and other Health professionals