The demand for aged care services is on the rise in Australia, and correspondingly the demand for aged care health professionals is increasing as well.
The Department of Health and Ageing in 2010 predicted that the aged care workforce will need to almost triple before 2050.
Keeping this in mind, Juniper, one of Western Australia’s leading providers of care and accommodation for older people, reiterated their commitment to creating a sustainable aged care workforce for the future. Juniper welcomes IRON (Initial Registration of Overseas Registered Nurses) students into a number of their facilities for their aged care placements across the country.
‘Aged Care for the first time’
Juniper Annesley, a facility specialising in palliative and dementia care, has recently opened its doors to the second round of IRON students for the year, with five recruits from India, the Philippines and Brazil.
As Juniper’s Learning & Innovations Advisor Nicola Cuthbert pointed out, many IRON students were experiencing aged care for the first time. “Aged care simply doesn’t exist in some countries so they are gaining valuable experience during their time with Juniper,” she said. “They are working with state of the art equipment and alongside a high calibre of health professionals at Juniper Annesley. It’s fantastic exposure to the aged care sector and allows them to consider pursuing a career in this area, once they are eligible to work as Registered Nurses in Australia.”
IRON students are already qualified health professionals in their own countries and bring a wealth of experience with them, coming with a real desire to learn.
How does the IRON Program work?
The IRON program, designed by the Institute of Health and Nursing Australia (IHNA), provides overseas Registered Nurses with the knowledge, skills and understanding to practice in a variety of health settings in Australia over a duration of nine-weeks. The course comprises four weeks of theory, including one week in an aged care placement and four weeks of acute care placement in a hospital.
To sign up for an IRON course, you must be a Registered Nurse with a bachelor degree, meet English language requirements and must be able to provide at least three months of clinical work experience. If you meet these criteria, you may then apply for a referral letter from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to become part of the IRON program.
Juniper will host at total 45 IRON students throughout this year across a number of different facilities.
Building our future Aged Care workforce
Juniper is also investing in the aged care workers of the future in many other ways. Juniper Annesley works in partnership with Curtin University to facilitate practical work placements for health science students across a range of disciplines. These students will gain valuable practical experience in an aged care environment, as they work alongside Juniper’s experienced health professionals through a carefully monitored mentoring system.
Juniper will take every opportunity to attract staff to the aged care sector. As Juniper Chief Executive Vaughan Harding said, “By training and guiding aged care workers and students through stimulating, interesting and realistic learning environments we are better placed to deliver the highest standards of care and can demonstrate that aged care is a worthwhile and rewarding career choice.”