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What is lifelong learning in nursing?

24th August 2020 | 5 mins

Nurse Graduates 2020

What is lifelong learning in nursing? The moment a nurse begins their career at Opal as part of our Graduate Nurse program they begin their journey of lifelong learning. Our program began in 2019 and as we celebrate the graduation of our first cohort this week, we take a look at what it means for us all.

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Mentoring is a key part of the program and each nurse graduate is connected with a mentor who guides them on their journey through the program and beyond. Nurse graduate, Jessica says this is the most valuable part of the program for her. “When you are just starting out your career in nursing, support is key.”

In our structured, 12-month program, learning is achieved in a variety of ways through online modules, in person workshops, mentoring, and on the job training. The program has been developed as part of our long-term partnership with the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) and is tailored for nurses to receive the specialist development they need to deliver better quality care, right from day one. Diva, Nurse Educator with ACN, describes the program as essential for building the skills for providing holistic care to our elders.

Our graduate nurses from around the country regularly attend residential workshops as a cohort throughout the program, giving them the opportunity to build the relationships that are the foundation of our care communities. Our in-place learning environment enables our nurses to learn from one another, accelerating their skills development and building their network at the same time.

Caitlin, one of our first cohort of graduates describes the program as, “putting all the pieces together”. “It provides context to what has been learned at university in a real-life setting.” Our graduates build on the theory they learned in university and put that together with the practical experience gained in our homes. This helps develop a holistic person centred approach that enables the best quality of care.

From a resident’s perspective, Esperanza who lives at Opal Blacktown says of Sushma who is part of the nurse graduate program, “She is such a warm and gentle person. I really feel loved and cared for.”

By providing an in-depth development program for our nurses, we are building strong career pathways for nurses through aged care. For Opal, that means enabling our nurses to provide better quality care, earlier in their career, by giving them access to the tools, skills and support that will help them to succeed. This is only the first step in their development pathway at Opal. All of our nurses with the drive and potential to succeed are encouraged to continue their journey through our leadership career pathways to achieve their career goals and deliver the best care outcomes for our residents and families.


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