Monash University, in collaboration with Aged and Community Care Victoria (ACCV), has developed a first in Australia. In February 2012 Monash’s School of Nursing and Midwifery commenced a Graduate Nurse Program for the aged care sector.
Thirty enthusiastic graduate nurses employed in aged care facilities across Victoria recently commenced the Aged Care Graduate Nurse Program (ACGNP) which provides preparation and support for the newly graduated registered nurse (RN) working with older persons in a variety of care settings.
Professional development coordinator Kerry Hood is running the program and senior lecturer Georgina Willets is co-facilitator.
Aged care nurses require all the skills of any registered nurse (such as appropriate technical skills, critical thinking, problem solving, time management, flexibility in managing people, therapeutic skills). However there are some unique qualities that aged care nurses need due to the different settings in which they work. For example, non acute aged care is far more person/family centred than acute care which is focused on intervention and cure.
This innovative program enables participants to explore the disciplines of gerontic and geriatric care, with a specific focus on the unique role and responsibilities of the RN as a clinician, a team leader and a manager. Advanced knowledge and practice for aged care will be developed through teaching and learning strategies, and consolidated in the clinical setting.
The intensive educational preparation involves seven modules run throughout the year by the School of Nursing and Midwifery as weekly study blocks. The program aims to develop reflective, critical thinking aged care nurses.
The content includes areas such as person-centred philosophy; assessment and care of the older person; health assessment of the older person; and professional practices and leadership in aged care. The graduates are supported in their aged care facilities by workplace preceptors and educators from ACCV. This program is funded by the Department of Health and Ageing.
Monash University will evaluate the program later in 2012.