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Post-grad course boosts training

A new one-year course offers nurses the chance to fill in any gaps in aged care knowledge.

Nurse graduate Emma Dunlevie has a clear and distinct passion for her work. In fact, when asked about her career prospects, she said she was not sure but would be happy as long it involved “working in the aged care sector and making a difference”.

Dunlevie is one of 25 graduate nurses who have recently completed LASA Victoria’s 12-month Aged Care Graduate Nurse program run by Leading Age Services Australia (LASA).

This is the first group of graduates to complete the course, which is funded by the federal government. LASA Victoria is the peak body for aged care services in Victoria.

The program involves seven weeks of training spread out over a year and includes study days, leadership and accreditation courses as well as the development of industry specific clinical skills.

High care, low care, palliative care and dementia specific care were just a few of the different types of nursing areas covered by the course.

“The curriculum included pressing topics such as palliative care, behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, politics and leadership,” Dunlevie said.

“These subjects are pivotal for nurses working in aged care yet are silent in many undergraduate curriculums.”

As part of the program, graduates were employed in a supported environment at one of LASA Victoria’s aged care provider’s facilities. This contributed 12 credit points to a Masters of Nursing (Aged Care) at Monash.

“All the nurses have developed relationships with peak aged care bodies and personnel throughout the entire program,” Dunlevie said.

Dr Pamela Johnson, nurse placement programs co-ordinator at LASA Victoria believes the course offers a unique opportunity to students looking to start a career in aged care.

“Our program provides advanced theoretical and clinical learning experiences, which is now becoming paramount in understanding the complex co-morbidities now seen in frail older people,” Johnson said.

“Aged care offers a complex and challenging career – one that can offer truly rewarding experiences and excellent career progression opportunities.”

Chief executive of LASA Victoria John Begg praised the nurses on their completion of the program.

“Congratulations to the first group of graduate nurses who have entered into this program ... who can now use their advanced skills in aged care for the benefit of our ageing community and the workplace,” Begg said.

“Over the next 40 years the number of persons aged over 65 will increase dramatically and the age group over 95 even more so.

“Many of these older Australians will rely on professional care delivered by a vibrant and capable workforce; one that we must start building today to enable this care to be available.”

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