The winners (L-R): Stephen O’Meara’s father [accepting the award on his behalf], Kerry Ross, Anne-Maree Carr and Jessica Lockwood.

Benetas and radio station 3AW have held the inaugural Aged Care Nurses Appreciation Awards to recognise the achievements of the dedicated nurses who care for older Victorians.

The organisation’s CEO, Sandra Hills said that following the recent negative portrayal of aged care services on the ABC’s Four Corners, it was more important than ever to celebrate the industry’s success stories.

“In just five years, there’s been an 18.5 per cent drop in registered aged care nurses,” Ms Hills said.

“Although it revealed the very real crisis in aged care nursing, the Four Corners report will drive nurses from the sector.”

In total, four aged care nurses received awards at the presentation last week.

Kerry Ross from Kalkee in Geelong was recognised for her involvement in an intergenerational program with young men which encouraged one participant to pursue a career in aged care.

Also recognised was Stephen O’Meara from Benetas’s Gladswood Lodge in West Brunswick, who left a job in landscape gardening to become a nurse after witnessing the high level of care required to look after his elderly grandparents.

The other two award recipients were Jessica Lockwood from TLC Marina in Altona North and Ane-Maree Carr from Sherwood Park in Junction Village.

Ms Hills said that despite the high quality of care provided in aged care, the negative image of the industry is taking its toll.

“Ask any aged care nurse what keeps their hospital peers away,” she said. “Among the top three reasons will be negative perceptions of our sector.”

“It’s not rocket science, the more we focus on the underperformers the more skewed
perceptions become.

“The inaugural Benetas Aged Care Nurses Appreciation Awards represent our effort to acknowledge some incredible men and women, and bring some perspective back to the debate.”

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