Nurses working in aged care are older than their colleagues in other parts of the health sector.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) report on the 2007 nursing and midwifery workforce shows that the average age of aged care nurses is over 49 in all states and territories except Victoria and the Northern Territory.
Aged care nurses in Queensland were the oldest with an average age of 50.2 while aged care nurses in the Territory had a relatively low average age of just 46.4.
The report also revealed that the general nursing workforce is ageing. From 2003 to 2007 the proportion of nurses aged 50 years and over increased from 28 per cent to 33 per cent.
Throughout Australia there were 29,949 aged care nurses in 2007 and 10,637 of them were in Victoria
The state with the next most aged care nurses was NSW, with 8,100, and it was followed by Queensland with 5,037.
The AIHW report also showed that enrolled nurses play a greater role in aged care than in other parts of the health system.
Over 56 per cent of Victoria’s aged care nurses were Division 2 nurses (enrolled), compared with less than 15 per cent of all nurses throughout the state.
In South Australia too, the aged care industry had a higher proportion of enrolled nurses than any other sector of the state's health system.