EVA PANOUSOPOULOS

Endorsed Enrolled Nurse, Martin Luther Homes, VIC    

I’ve been working in aged care for 28 years. I started as a Patient Care Assistant (PCA) then finally made the decision to upskill and became an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse four years ago. 

I started working in aged care because my third cousin use to work as a cleaner in an aged care facility in Camberwell called Nazareth House, which was run by the nuns and the poor sisters of Nazareth. 

One weekend whilst I was visiting her she had to go to work and asked me if I wanted to go along - so I wasn’t left as the only child among all the adults at her house. I decided to go, and this is where I first fell in love with aged care. 

I think going there was fate, and a sign of where I belonged and where my career should be.  Seeing all the elderly people wanting to hold your hands, trying to gain your attention so they could talk to you and be listened to, it was very emotional.  After meeting the nun in charge, and having had a full tour of the whole facility I fell in love, and after a week I decided to beginning working as their PCA.

Since becoming an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse I have worked across a range of hospital, aged care and agency settings and a wide variety of shift times.  Whilst my experience has given me a better understanding of, and respect for, the scope of my profession, I always end up working back in nursing homes, which I prefer. 

I think the environment suits me better, as in aged care facilities there is more stability in the older people’s lives, and I’m able to get to know residents and spend some quality time with them. 

Since 2017 I have been working as an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse in charge of four different units in a German aged care facility called Martin Luther Homes. 

I oversee my resident areas, and supervise a team of PCAs (who also look after approximately 30 residents), ensuring all the care provided to our beautiful residents is of the highest standards. 

I conduct the handovers between the rotating shifts, ensure all medical records are up to date, and that incidents and risks are managed according to protocol. I also liaise frequently with visiting residents’ Doctors and take care of nursing duties which includes the treatment of wounds and the administration of medication.

I’m also responsible for the direct communication between Martin Luther Homes and the residents’ families. I deal with resident and relatives’ concerns, and collaborate with the RN to resolve issues immediately.

The thing I most love about my job is giving our residents the life they deserve, ensuring all their needs are met and they feel respected and listened to. 

Our residents make the rules, as they are the reason we are all here.  After all these are the Australians (whether born here or migrated) that shaped and built our beautiful country, so we should show some appreciation for who they were and what they did. 

I love and enjoy being their advocate, listening to their life stories, getting to know them and learning about their life, past history, family, travel and work. 

I always stress that all staff need to be mindful that we are working in our residents’ home, so trust, dignity, honesty, privacy and respect is to be given at all times to demonstrate how much we care.

I love getting positive feedback from residents, families, allied health professionals and colleagues.  It’s often the little things that matter and make a difference, going above and beyond to do things like picking flowers out of the garden and seeing them smile when they have them in their room is priceless.

I also help my team in the best way I can, and always acting professionally is very important to me.  I try my best to always be approachable and open-minded and treat everyone in my team equally, to generate a positive working environment. 

I don’t consider myself to be more important than any of my team, I am their equal just with perhaps more qualifications and leadership experience which I can teach to them.  Then we can all provide the best care to each of our residents.  I find this very rewarding.

I’m proud of who I have become from working in aged care, and what I can give to these beautiful, culturally diverse human beings.  My job has taught me to be a stronger person with a caring nature, because you don’t always have good things happen whilst caring for the elderly. 

Your eyes see a lot, and facial expressions tell so many stories.  My job has taught me compassion and that each day is a different day, and whilst it can be very stressful you have to push along to get through.

I think empathy is the strongest trait to have when you work in aged care, because the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person is very difficult.  From here trust is built as well as respect.

I believe working in aged care is a privilege.  Giving residents emotional and physical support to get through a day is of such importance.  Whilst it can give you a variety of challenges to overcome, it is rewarding and allows you the opportunity to support elderly people and give them the quality of life they deserve whilst still alive.   

Seeing people smiling and happy is rewarding, even if they are having a down day and need cheering up.  Making a difference to so many people makes you feel better within yourself. 

 

 

 
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The thing I most love about my job is giving our residents the life they deserve, ensuring all their needs are met and they feel respected and listened to.