INsite: How did you get into the role you’re in now?
Simone O’Connor (SO): I was looking after my terminal ill father in law and after he had passed way I wanted to do something helpful and positive for other people, especially the elderly.
INsite: What does a typical day at work entail?
SO: Getting people up in the morning, assisting with personal cares/shower/dressing, make/deliver breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, assist with meals where necessary, tidy up residents rooms, make beds, inform my superior (RN, Clinical Nurse Manager) about important changes of a resident’s health and well-being, write shift/progress notes and complete handover sheet, spend as much time with them as I can. Occasionally help administering medications (medication competency duties/shifts).
INsite: What do you love most about your job?
SO: To help and assist people in need, encourage their independency, try and make sure they have a good day within their level of health.
INsite: And what are the most challenging aspects?
SO: We all get close to certain residents, become a bit of a friend to them. If their health declines it can become quite emotional. Death can be very challenging.
INsite: Have you taken any training or professional development which you’ve found particularly helpful to what you do?
SO: Level 3 in a Health and Well-Being Setting, Observer and Assessor Training. It all helps to look a the big picture, provide good quality care and consider all aspects from the residents, family/whanau and caregiver side.
INsite: If you could change one thing about New Zealand’s aged care or retirement industries, what would it be, and why?
SO: Have more staff on the floor, spend more time with residents. A lot is very rushed and time restricted. Be there for them when they need you most.
INsite: When you’re not working, where can you be found?
SO: At home in my garden, spending time with my husband and friends or riding my horse. Our two children have left home and are busy with their own lives and jobs in Australia and on the South Island.