For Amy Sherlock, a casual shift as a registered nurse has led to a rewarding career in aged care.
Now a deputy care manager for the dementia living units in Randwick, Amy shares more about her experiences forging meaningful relationships with residents and colleagues and developing as a professional.
You have a background as an RN, how did you decide on a career in residential aged care?
When I was starting out, I had an agency shift at Montefiore in Woollahra and really enjoyed it, so I applied for a permanent role they were advertising. I never could have dreamed of the amazing opportunities that awaited me, and I am so grateful that I had that first shift by chance.
Tell us about your professional journey at Montefiore?
When I joined the team in Woollahra as a Registered Nurse, I mostly covered care planning, medication and wound management. Last year I had the incredible opportunity to step back from my clinical duties and act as the Executive Care Manager, looking at the unit more from an operational perspective. I recently moved to a new role as Deputy Care Manager for the low and high care dementia living units in Randwick. I work closely with the interdisciplinary team and the nursing team to deliver best consumer outcomes. A big part of my role is leading clinical care, as well as guidance, making sure that we meet aged care standards and fulfil the Montefiore Experience.
How have you found the move into dementia living after working with people with lower care needs?
It’s been a big change. I am really enjoying the new challenge, in the dementia-specific unit we spend a lot of time on behaviour support, which I touched on in low-level care, but it’s more important to my role now.
What does your average day look like?
Lots of meetings – with the interdisciplinary team to discuss any issues facing specific residents, with families and residents to plan their care, as well as with colleagues from across the organisation so we’re all aware of what’s happening. Good communication is vital. My manager and I also spend time on the floor, ensuring that both staff and residents always feel supported.
How do you work with residents and their families?
From a resident’s initial entry into the unit, I meet with the social worker on the unit, and if people are visiting, I will meet the potential resident and their family. If there is ever a clinical concern, I will attend to residents quickly and directly. There are lots of supportive families within my unit, and I love seeing their friendly faces when they visit, and I’ll meet with families on an annual basis, or more often, to review the care that we provide to their loved one. I am lucky to have an amazing team around me, who support our residents on the floor, all day, every day.
Most rewarding aspect of your role?
Another truly rewarding moment, is when I hear from residents’ families that their loved one feels truly ‘at home’ and content living at Montefiore. I think this is something we all strive for, and we would all want our loved ones to feel this way.
How would you describe the workplace culture at Montefiore?
From my first moment here, I felt completely supported by the nursing staff. It was immediately apparent that they had the best interests of the residents in mind, and that just made my job so much easier. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with truly supportive managers, the kind of leadership staff who are always looking to develop their team further as professionals. In my experience at Montefiore, staff are recognised for the value and integrity that they bring to the organisation. As an employee, it just makes your job even more rewarding when you can tell that your hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
What advice do you have for new graduates considering a nursing career in aged care?
If there are any new graduates reading this, or if you’re leaning towards a career in aged care but just aren’t sure – please grab the opportunity with both hands. There are so many different levels of care that you could go into, with any number of opportunities for professional development and it is such a rewarding profession.
When I’m not working…
I love getting away on trips, either with my partner or my friends. I am an active person, so I enjoy hitting the gym, playing netball, and even a game of Oztag each week!
Want to learn more about finding a rewarding role in aged care at Montefiore. Visit our Careers page.