News & Events

Brenda’s favourite residents

April 19, 2017

Working at Liscombe House, OCAV’s aged care facility, keeps Brenda Waites connected to two of her great loves – her parents Greta and Kevin, and nursing the elderly. While many people consider care of the elderly the least glamorous of the nursing areas, Brenda loves it.


Brenda, an enrolled nurse, recently joined the Victorian Board of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia as a health practitioner. She has achieved a great deal professionally since she first came to Liscombe House to do a placement as part of her Personal Care Attendants Course through NMIT in 2008. She graduated from the course and started working on staff at Liscombe House, but soon realised she wanted to learn more.


Nursing seemed a big career jump for a woman who had spent years on a farm in Kilmore, but moving back to Melbourne meant she could pursue a dream she had harboured for two decades.


“When I was younger I worked in administration at St Vincent’s Hospital and always thought nursing was something I could do one day. Moving back to Melbourne at a time when my two daughters were moving on with their own lives, gave me the flexibility and opportunity to move into this area,” Brenda said.


She began working part time at Liscombe House in 2008 and in 2009 studied at RMIT and graduated as an enrolled nurse. In 2010 she began at North Park Private Hospital in the graduate program, and then studied a diploma in paramedical sciences, specialising in anaesthesia.


She now also works part time at North Park Private Hospital in the hand hygiene program and at the Austin Hospital as an aneasthetic theatre nurse, all the while maintaining her casual work connection with Liscombe House.


“You have to love working with older people to stay at it. There are lots of challenges, especially in the high care area, but there is so much to learn.”


As a Board member she and her eight colleagues are responsible for the regulation of nurses, complaints and mandatory reporting. The Board examines any complaints and determines if the practitioner has operated within the scope of practice or complied with the code of conduct.


“Ours is a regulatory role and we have to enforce policies relevant to the scope of practice,” she said.


Continuing professional development is important to Brenda and she sees education as a crucial part of her role as a health practitioner. She also wants to pursue opportunities for other enrolled nurses and encourage them to undertake further education to ensure they keep up to date with changing practices.


“No matter what area of nursing you work in, whether it is anaesthetics or caring for the elderly, there is always change. And to ensure the patient receive the best care you have to be informed of the best practice.”


“Many years ago the education of enrolled nurses was hospital based and now it is in universities. There are a lot more opportunities now for enrolled nurses to pursue further education in a specific field and play an important role in the health care setting.”


Brenda welcomes her casual shifts at Liscombe House, not just because she enjoys caring for the elderly, but also because she can see more of her parents who have been at OCAV in Leith Park since 2014.

“Our home has always been a place where family and friends are welcome.  Our cottage at Rushall Park is no different and the community of friends here is important to us and that’s why their work is part of my art box,” Jennifer Barden said.

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