Supporting graduate nurses in aged care

When her father developed dementia in his mid-to-late 50s Dawn Ogden wanted to do everything in her power to help.


It led her to a career in aged care and she never looked back.

She began as a carer, progressed to an enrolled nurse, and recently qualified as a Registered Nurse before securing a graduate position in the sector at a not-for-profit aged care provider in Western Australia.

Dawn says she fell in love with aged care and has “no interest in hospital work”.

“I think it’s because you get to know the residents,” she says.

“They’re not in and out. They’re here for a while. You get to know personalities. It’s a close-knit network.”

The 47-year-old says upskilling from an enrolled nurse to a registered nurse brings added responsibility but she decided to make the transition to improve her career prospects and safeguard her future.

Dawn is undertaking her graduate year at a 120-bed facility that is classified as a low care nursing home.

It involves spending several months working alongside preceptors before taking the reins and taking charge at the facility.

As part of the education, she is also completing a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing at Notre Dame University.

“Even though I’d worked as an enrolled nurse in aged care trying to get a job as a registered nurse in aged care is a totally different thing,” Dawn suggests.

“If you’re fresh out of university very few aged care facilities will take on a new graduate. So having this position available, an actual graduate program where you’ve got preceptors is such a tremendous relief.”

Dawn lists being on the floor by herself and calling the shots as the most challenging aspects of her graduate year so far.

Dawn is optimistic of continuing with the aged care provider once she finishes her course next year.

She considers working in aged care a reward in itself and says she will most likely remain in the sector after the graduate year is up.

“I’ve worked in it for a few years now. I know I love it. For me it’s one of those things. I will just keep going.”

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