Why I chose to work in aged care: Natalie Nobes

Friday, 01 April, 2022

Why I chose to work in aged care: Natalie Nobes

Natalie Nobes, a 52-year-old mother of three adult children, has never let her hearing impairment get in the way of achieving her goals and inspiring others along the way.

Nobes recently graduated with a Certificate III in Individual Support, specialising in Ageing and Disability, from Macquarie Community College, and has since been working as a support worker with deaf participants in the Blacktown area.

Last December, she was recognised at Blacktown City Council’s International Day of People with Disability Awards and won the Community Advocate of the Year Award. Here she talks about her role and why she chose to work in the aged-care sector.

Can you tell us about your role as a support worker?

My role involves a range of activities including shopping, doctors appointments, virtual meetings with Auslan interpreter, help to read the emails, gardening, day-to-day tasks, providing emotional and physical support to my clients, assisting with cooking, social activities and cleaning.

How does being hearing impaired (deaf) lend itself to your role as a support worker?

Being deaf has lent itself to my role as a support worker as I go through the same access issues — that my deaf participants experience — in my everyday life. I have learnt to adapt to this challenge but they do not have those skills yet. I am a partner in their journey.

What is your favourite thing about your new role?

My absolute favourite thing is to see deaf participants successfully complete a task by themselves and smile knowing that they now have the skills to complete it again.

When did you decide to work in the aged-care sector and why?

I decided to work in the care sector two years ago with an aim to support deaf participants in their individual lives, and empower them to live the life they want.

What is the most rewarding aspect of the role?

To be able to help deaf participants achieve their goals.

How did COVID-19 impact your work and your industry?

It is harder to make deaf participants more independent with lip reading because of masks. Facial expressions are hard and while you can take off the mask for deaf people, most people did not wish to do so — this meant my deaf participants could not understand basic facial expressions. And to provide access was hard — because some places would not let me in with my deaf participants.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?


What’s your advice for people looking at working in aged care or disability support?

Although challenging at times, working in the sector has encouraged me to set a goal of seeing more deaf participants make a real change to the quality of their lives through further education. My advice is to just go for it! Get some experience under your belt and join an industry that is always looking for more compassionate carers.

What qualifications/study did you complete and did it help you achieve your career objectives?

Yes, it absolutely did.

I chose Certificate 3 in individual support in aged care and disability to gain experience, knowledge and understanding of the sector. The hardest part of the course was during COVID-19 lockdown. I couldn’t catch up during virtual meeting and I was lost as trying to lip-read when a lot of people are talking is difficult. MCC Trainer Bernadette supported me and my Auslan interpreters helped me to understand what I had missed. The wealth of knowledge that I gained helped me support my deaf clients the best possible way.

Anything else you could share about yourself?

I am a mother of three hearing adults, love poodle dogs and love going on social outings.

Image caption: Natalie Nobes (left) and her college interpreter Jess (right).

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