With demand for aged care staff – particularly registered nurses – at an all-time high, qualified candidates are finding themselves spoiled for choice when it comes to employment options.
Lee Carissa, recently appointed CEO of North Sydney aged care provider Cranbrook Care, warns those seeking new opportunities should not only consider the salary offered, but also look further into each provider’s track record when it comes to staff reward, recognition and retention.
“As a registered nurse who started out as a personal care assistant, I can speak from experience about the very real challenges and rewards of building a career in the aged care sector,” Carissa says.
“Having worked in roles ranging from hands-on nursing to compliance, operations and now management, I believe that demonstrating a genuine, ongoing commitment to, and investment in, our team is what sets Cranbrook Care apart, both as a workplace, and as a residence for the senior citizens in our care.
“I’m also an authentic example of Cranbrook Care’s commitment to mentoring and promoting staff from within, having held various positions with the company over the past four-and-a-half years.
“An aged care provider is only as good – and as happy – as its employees, so one of the first things on my agenda as CEO in 2022 is to spend several days ‘walking in the shoes’ of staff in each area of the business to find out where the pressure points are, to identify where we can improve, and to see first-hand the outstanding care and commitment of the Cranbrook Care team,” she adds.
Carissa also cited Cranbrook Care’s pro-active sourcing of an interrupted supply of world-class PPE to protect its team (rather than rely on Government supplies) from the outset of the COVID pandemic, and the company’s decision to commit to 24/7 registered nurses onsite well before Government reforms were proposed, as examples of Cranbrook Care’s genuine promise to creating a positive environment for both staff and residents – not because regulators require it, but because it’s the right thing to do.
“Another way we support and empower our staff is by providing industry-leading training and education,” she says.
“I feel very fortunate to have had a long-standing career in the aged care sector, which is why I feel passionate about encouraging more people to join it.
“Coaching, training, and mentoring employees to provide them with a clear career pathway is not only close to my heart, but also paramount in providing quality care to our residents,” Carissa says.
Cranbrook Care staff enjoy a combination of regular in-house and online training courses, as well as more immersive off-site opportunities, such as graduate registered nurses offered a place in the Aged Care Graduate Nurse Transition to Practice Program.
“While staff appreciate working in a beautiful environment and benefiting from our generous reward and recognition program and retail discount program, employees regularly tell us it is management’s ‘open door policy’ and ‘no-blame culture’ which make us truly stand out from our peers,” she says.
In addition, our generous loyalty bonus program for employees that kicks in after a number of years’ service is an effective way of retaining our best employees.
Some of the activities planned for residents also enrich the working environment for Cranbrook Care staff — one such example is the new Laughter Care program recently launched across all residences.
“While humour has been shown to have therapeutic benefits for aged care residents such as reducing stress and anxiety, it also improves job satisfaction for employees and creates a positive, warm atmosphere for residents and their carers.
“We invite interested staff to attend training workshops to learn how to become a ‘Laughter Boss’ and discover creative new strategies and fun practical skills in play and humour therapy, and we can’t wait to see our fun-loving staff in action.”