Upskilling staff savvier than enlisting new

nursing education aged careUpskilling staff is definitively smarter than enlisting new ones.

Current market labor forces would have you believe there is a shortage of nurses. Alas, if we look in the right places, and attract the right staff; there are mountains of people looking to work with you. To support this, I bring to your attention the hundreds of virtually retired registered nurses, who were brought back to life again by AHPRA during the Covid Crisis.

The situation is so ridiculously serious that Aged Care Journals have in recent months published articles from University Professors. However, there are some interesting points raised by this research. Firstly, that onboarding is a complex and costly process. Then there is the push for full-time workers. Staff need options, not weeks of onboarding paperwork, and inflexibility with working shifts. Pulling the hard line on shifts relies heavily on attracting that market workforce where there is a shortage – new staff that knows no better. If you want experienced staff, then you may have to change some of the onboarding processes and offer more flexibility.

Staffing Ratios

Staffing ratios have always been a thing. Since the beginning of time nurses have been battling to maintain some sort of staffing ratio. In aged care, prior to the introduction of the Aged Care Standards in 1997, there was a funding tool that by its own virtue required a certain number of staff to meet clients’ care needs. This has all been superseded by Quality Outcome goals.

What we know is when a registered nurse commences work in Aged Care, there is an expectation that the registered nurse is able to perform a huge number of tasks competently: clinical assessment, medical communications, appointment bookings, crisis family management, human resource management, rostering, and legally appropriate documentation on all of these events. Oh, and don’t forget that all this must be done whilst filling in the incident form, completing the computerized care plans, and meeting the Quality Standards. Then we hear complaints about the new registered nurse not performing well. In what other industry do you expect someone to complete their degree and function at the level of a Major General, on day One.

In the coming weeks, we are going to look at how to best work with these registered nurses, for the benefit of all stakeholders. Stay tuned, and drop us a line to say hello.