Choose A Nursing Course That Works For You

By Adriana Rehbein
Wednesday, 13 February, 2013

It has been evident that the nursing profession has changed dramatically in the last decade which has forced training for nurses to increase in order to keep up with such changes as the increase in community nursing, writes Dr Mary Casey, CEO and Founder of The Casey Centre.
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The government has expanded programs and packages in the community so that people can stay in their homes longer and also to decrease the number of trips and admissions to hospital. Such schemes are very cost effective and work well. Hospital stays are much shorter than ever before.
Once upon a time a cholecystectomy was a 7 – 10 day stay; patients are now out the following day post surgery. This is the case for most surgery these days. This move in the system has also changed the face of nursing in that care is more acute, nurses need to be
more autonomous and responsible than ever before and therefore need to be highly skilled with a sound knowledge base.
At The Casey Centre, which incorporates Nursing Group, a nursing service which provides care across NSW, and also Casey College which trains and educates nurses, we have witnessed the dramatic changes in the industry and also in education for nurses.
The role of registered nurses, enrolled nurses and assistant nurses has altered somewhat in the past ten years as a result. Complex care was once attended only by registered nurses however assistant nurses today are required to do these very same tasks especially in the community. With the shortage of registered and enrolled nurses, services providers were left with no choice but to upskill and further educated assistant nurses. Because of this, assistant nurses are now the most sought after, mostly in community settings however with the new courses, they will soon be able to take on roles in public hospitals. They already work in nursing homes and in desperate situations they have in fact been utilised in some public hospitals.
There are numerous courses available today for nurses, giving them the choice of which type of work they would like to do. There are many areas to choose from and gain expertise in that certain role.
In the community there is aged care, care for people with disabilities, palliative care, child care, ventilated care, care for people with a brain injury or with behaviours of concern (formerly challenging behaviours) and mental health. In hospital settings the choices range from medical nursing, surgical, emergency care, intensive care, cardiac care, child care, midwifery, neonatal intensive care, rehabilitation or aged care. The choices for all nurses are in abundance.
Like everything, change happens whether we like it or not. It doesn’t matter what industry growth takes place, jobs become more complex and as a result, people become more and more skilled.
This opens up doors for people who didn’t think they were capable of having a career that they love. We have seen this at Casey College. People have been encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and we have supported them to gain their certificate which has allowed them to take on positions which provide them with a very healthy income. They can also choose their own times, days, hours etc. This has always been an attractive part of the nursing profession, hence why many mums and dads have been able to balance work and home effectively.
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The Casey College has made a career pathway for anyone wanting to start their new career as a nurse. It begins with the Certificate 111 in Aged Care. Once this course is completed satisfactorily, it allows the student to take on community nursing or work in nursing homes and other aged care facilities. They can then study to obtain a certificate in disabilities which enables them to work in the many other areas such as disabilities, mental health, and acquired brain injuries etc.
The Certificated 1V in Aged Care is the next step which gives students even more opportunities and they can also take on team leader positions. Both of these courses are nationally recognised and therefore make available to students a chance to obtain Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL) if they choose to continue their career and attend either TAFE or University.
A newly developed course, Certificate 111 in Acute Care, will allow students to work in the public hospital system. This course will be a major contribution factor to resolving the nursing shortage. This course will also make available RPL for students to enrol in TAFE or University.
There are additional short courses for nurses that can provide them with more options to work in particular areas. Some of the courses include but are not limited to: Diabetes, Medications, Tracheostomy care/ changes, Supra-pubic catheter care/ changes, colostomy care/changes, mental health, behaviours of concern, autonomic dysreflexia, palliative care, grief and loss, dementia care etc.
The sky is the limit for nurses or anyone wanting a nursing career. The government also provides funding for people who are  unemployed so that they are given opportunities to work in the care industry. People who have been out of work for many years have attended the course and became professionals and have gained work by the end of the course. They can be earning a very good income within three to six months from commencement of the course. There is a criterion that must be met in these situations so it is important to suss it out.
Due to the increase in community nursing and the nursing shortage in hospitals, this pathway to a career, might very well be one of the fastest growing professional occupations we have seen in the industry for many years.
What makes nursing an attractive choice for anyone wanting to pursue a career is that once you have done the initial course, you can work and get a taste of what type of field would suit you. The glory of nursing also is that you can work on a casual basis almost anywhere and gain experience and at the same time work out what you are most attracted to.
You may even like working with the elderly for a while and then change to palliative care and then to child care.
The first step, Certificate 111 in Aged Care, takes around three months to complete. It is important that when you are planning to go to college or do a part of your course online then you need to ensure that the course is nationally recognised and also that you are able to do hands-on clinical activities.
A good course will offer you a placement (work experience) in a facility at the end of the course so that you gain hands-on experience. If you do not get the experience you may find it very difficult to start working somewhere without ever having touched a patient. It can be terrifying in fact. If, however you have attended a placement in a facility, you feel confident and comfortable to take on your new role as a nurse. There should also be hands-on opportunities during the course to teach you before you attend your work experience. This also gives you the confidence to attend your placement.
Quite often students are snapped up while they are on their placement. Because they have extensive hands-on during their course, they are competent by the end of the course and ready and raring to go.
The Certificate 1V takes around the same time as the Certificate 111 course however if you have already done the Certificate 111 then you would get RPL and only have to do the additional part of the Certificate 1V which makes it less time.
The Acute Care course works the same way. If you have already attended the Certificate 1V, then you will gain RPL and the course will be less work.
If you wanted to pursue your career further and attend TAFE or University then you would be looking at a one year commitment to become and Enrolled nurse and three years to become a Registered nurse. Registered nurses can only become qualified at University.
If you have your Certificate 111 and/or 1V in Aged Care or the Acute Care course, then you would be able to receive Recognition for Prior learning if attending University or TAFE.
Many mature aged students are content to work in the community as an Assistant in Nursing. They have had their families and are happy working at their own pace and receiving a reasonable income. Students have gone from unemployed to earning a great wage, feeling good about themselves and being more confident than ever.
Nursing is a wonderful career. There is nothing more satisfying than making someone in pain feel better or a vulnerable person feel that they can trust you one hundred percent; making someone comfortable or giving someone hope. It teaches you kindness, patience, compassion and love. In learning this you also get it back tenfold.

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