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3 Vital Things to Know Before Choosing a Career in Aged Care

The Health Industry

Do you feel compelled to seek out a career that will allow you to nurture, sustain, help and support others? If so, a career as an aged care worker might be a suitable option for you. Like all healthcare careers, this role has its pros and cons. Let’s discuss 3 of the most compelling insights you need to know before choosing a career in aged care.

1. Aged care is a career that cannot easily be automated

In bygone times, choosing a suitable career used to be a whole lot less taxing than it is now. Today there’s a new and critical consideration you need to be aware of when choosing a vocation – and that is its potential for becoming obsolete due to automation. You certainly don’t want to spend a bundle on university, VET courses or other training, only to find that your chosen career will be automated out of viability within less than a decade.

Consultants at McKinsey & Company, a USA-based management consulting firm, have created extensive, detailed reports about the sectors they believe could be easily automated versus the ones that would be much more difficult to automate. They’ve determined that some portions of work in the healthcare sector could be automated, but they believe the potential for automation is lower in specific cases where a health professional’s daily routine requires direct interaction with patients. Since the aged care worker’s job description consists almost entirely of direct interaction with patients, this is a reasonably safe career choice.

It’s also a safe career choice from a demand perspective. A significant portion of the Australian citizenry is ageing. This is creating a dire need for more aged care workers, and experts predict that demand for aged care will grow even further in the years ahead.

2. There are multiple pathways available for becoming qualified to perform aged care work

It is possible to obtain work as an aged or disabled carer without any formal training, qualifications or credentials. However, this is a job where people’s lives are at stake. Given the urgent nature of some of the tasks you will be called on to perform as an aged care worker, you are likely to find it useful to obtain formal training.

You’re also likely to have access to better job opportunities if you successfully complete at least a few aged care courses taught by experienced professionals. It’s ideal to obtain either a certificate III or IV qualification; these are credentials that many aged and disabled carers seek out. If you want to be a geriatric nurse, you will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree as a minimum academic requirement.

Alternatively, it may be possible for you to obtain an apprenticeship or traineeship in the aged care sector. For example, in Western Australia, community services level 3 and level 4 apprenticeships for aged care work are sometimes available.

With these pathways all being available to you, this is a career that has potential, regardless of whether you have the time, money and inclination to seek out a university degree or other formal training at this time.

3. Aged carers must ride an emotional roller coaster every day

Many aged carers find it difficult to remain emotionally detached from their work. This is because it is common for aged care workers to find themselves in situations where they get to know their patients quite well. This can result in inevitable emotional highs and lows.

As an aged care worker, you’re likely to find yourself rejoicing along with a patient whose adult children drop by for a visit with a newborn grandchild – and then moments later, you may be struggling to maintain a professional demeanour when another of your patients is in such obvious agony that you feel like giving into tears and crying along with her.

Aged care is more than just a job. It is a lifestyle.

There are many more nuances to aged care work beyond those mentioned above. However, these are 3 of the most consequential things you need to be aware of if you are considering a career as an aged carer. We also recommend the following additional resources if you’d like more information on the topic of aged care careers:

Reasons to Consider Working With the Elderly
The World of Aged Care Nursing by RN Brad Winter

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