How Rochelle Switched Careers to Land Her Dream Job In Aged Care
Last month, Queensford College student Rochelle graduated with a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing). After having worked as a massage beauty therapist, Rochelle decided she wanted a job that was more fulfilling. Realising her passion for personal care, Rochelle decided to change her life and begin a career in aged care. The good news is; all her hard work has paid off. This week, Rochelle was offered a full time job as a Personal Care Worker (PCW) and here is her story!
The Career Swap
Not long after graduating with a qualification in Individual Support (Ageing), Rochelle was offered a position as a Personal Care Giver at a residential care facility in Brisbane. Here, she will primarily care for elderly people who require 24/7 personal support.
Before moving into aged care, Rochelle had worked in massage beauty therapy for 12 years:
“I needed to do something more fulfilling… caring for people is something that I’m really passionate about. My daughter and my partner also studied aged care, and seeing their passion for it made me want to get involved.
“In my work as a massage therapist, I had a range of clients of all different ages and a few elderly clients and I loved working with them.”
This ignited her passion for aged care and Rochelle decided to enrol in a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) at Queensford College, on the advice of her daughter, who also studied at the campus.
“I lost both my father and my grandmother to cancer, and so knowing I get to help improve someone’s day just a little bit feels so incredible. It doesn’t make me sad, it makes me feel good. I love knowing I can help brighten people’s day.”
The Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) gave Rochelle a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical side of aged care, including how to; facilitate the empowerment of older people, follow safe work practices and how to work legally and ethically within an aged care home or residential facility.
From Online Class to Placement
Juggling work, study and her family, Rochelle devoted herself to her studies and before she knew it, it was time for her 120 hour vocational placement. Placed in an aged care facility in Ipswich, Rochelle said she at first felt overwhelmed.
“The first couple of days I went oh my god I can’t do this. This is terrifying, I said to my partner ‘I can’t do it!’ But after the second day, I just went, “I love this”. and it got better. All the other Personal Care Workers and residents were just amazing.”
During her placement, Rochelle learnt a lot about the practical aspects of aged care and how to provide individualised physical, mental and social support to the elderly.
“I gained all the practical experience I needed to be able to take care of patients. Literally everything! From showering, cleaning, personal care, general care, keeping the resident upbeat and engaged.”
This also included applying the skills and knowledge she learnt in class to the real world, things such as caring for an elderly dementia patient who confused her as someone else.
“I would remind her ‘No! no I’m not [that person]!’ They just don’t understand it, but that’s not their fault.”
Learning how to work with diverse people and caring for people with dementia helped Rochelle provide personalised care during her placement. In addition, Rochelle was able to see how important safe work practices for direct client care could be when it came to patient hygiene.
“It was so intense, learning about the personal hygiene of patients and what to do. That was really important. I refuse to get relaxed when it comes to hygiene.”
Designed to prepare students for the real world by giving them real life skills, Rochelle’s vocational placement helped her put all her knowledge into practice.
Landing the Dream Job
Before she had even graduated, Rochelle was offered a job at an aged care facility in Brisbane after being recommended by a friend. Her lucky stars truly aligned, because the aged care facility where she completed her placement also offered her a position.
“They keep asking me at the placement if I want to start with them! I think I might go back and volunteer and maybe get an hour or two there. I would like to go and visit the residents there and then continue with my work in the community.”
The interviewers recognised the exceptional practical skills and knowledge Rochelle had learnt during her placement, making her the perfect candidate for a role as a Personal Care Worker.
What It Feels Like
Like many others, Rochelle says she feels good knowing her dream job is a career in helping people. Along with most aged care workers, Rochelle gets to experience the personal satisfaction of knowing she’s doing a job that genuinely makes a difference in someone’s life.
“You can feel it in your heart… well personally I can. I‘m a feeler, and I can feel it. It’s like this swell in your chest and it’s like; yay!”
In just half a year Rochelle was able to transform her passion into a career. For her peers, and other students undertaking a qualification in individual support and aged care, Rochelle has this advice:
“….do it because you really care. You need to have empathy, passion and a love for caring for others. You can’t fake a job like this.”
On placement, Rochelle also said to not be afraid to ask for help, as working in aged care is all about teamwork.
“Communication is huge between yourself and other Personal Care Workers. That’s one thing I was very lucky to be able to do, fit in well and work well with the others carers.”