A nursing career spanning three generations
Bolton Clarke at home support nurses and mother and daughter, Karen and Alissa are keeping a family tradition of community nursing alive.
Now working alongside one another as district nurses in Melbourne’s southern suburbs, Karen and Alissa both say nursing has been in their blood since they were born.
“I began my career in nursing because of the strong influence of my mother and grandmother who are both nurses,” Alissa said.
“I used to sit in on nursing lectures when I was just six years old while my mother pursued her nursing studies.
“Their dedication and passion for patient care inspired me to follow in their footsteps.”
This week, 11 – 15 September, is Nursing in the Community Week celebrating and acknowledging the vital role nurses play within our communities across Australia.
For Karen, her nursing career was inspired by her mother’s work as an aged care nurse in Townsville and began with work as a diversional therapist in an aged care home herself. Today, she supports clients to live independently at home.
“I have loved the job since my first day and have every day for the last 30 years – when that alarm goes off, I am up and ready,” Karen said.
“I left school at 14 in Scotland and started my studies at university at 30 when I found myself in a position where I needed to find a career to support my three children - that was daunting.
“Caring for clients in their home is very different to hospital work, it keeps you on your toes and can be demanding but I love the challenge.
“Empowering older people to live at home and encourage their independence is very rewarding because most people want to stay in their home for as long as possible and we can help them do that.”
A day in the life of the pair can vary but that’s something Karen and Alissa enjoy most about their roles and the essential service they provide.
“My typical day may involve assessing and caring for community clients, administering medications, wound care, coordinating the healthcare teams and ensuring the comfort and wellbeing of our clients,” Alissa said.
“Community nursing is a testament to the holistic and personalised care that nursing strives to provide, allowing people to age gracefully within their own home.
“This week is important to recognise our nurses and to celebrate the hard work, dedication and compassion that they bring to their communities.”
Nurses within the aged care sector work with various community groups to enable the best care possible for older people.
“Working in the community setting requires adaptability and a deep understanding of the diverse needs of our clients,” Karen said.
“Aged care nurses work with GPs, Allied Health teams, Case Managers and families all within that community environment.
“Not only that but they put in that extra time to post a letter, make a cup of tea or even just hold a clients’ hand for comfort.”
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