In 2014 Kate Beckford made a life changing decision to enrol in a Certificate III in Aged Care and Home and Community Care with Living & Learning Nillumbik. Kate, a single mother to four wonderful children, had a dream to return to study and become a Nurse but first wanted to gain experience in a caring role as a Personal Care Assistant (PCA).
Kate's mother had recently completed the Aged Care/Home and Community Care course with Living & Learning Nillumbik and encouraged Kate to go and have a chat to the team there - which she did and her journey began.
Like many people Kate was a bit nervous about returning to the classroom but she was also very excited and looked forward to the beginning of her new career. When asked about how she found this Kate said that she thought that the course was very well structured and that there was never a time when she felt that she didn't know what she was meant to be doing. Also the length of time on placement was great as she was able to really get to know the residents and there was ample time to really practice what she learnt in the classroom which was important in terms of her confidence in her ability to be a good PCA.
Kate shared a memorable experience that she had with one particular resident who had dementia and who at times would become quite depressed and agitated and communication with her was often difficult. As part of the dementia unit in the course the class had watched part of a story about using music to engage with people living with dementia. Using this knowledge Kate did some research about the woman's cultural music and developed an individual play list for her saving it on her ipod. Kate said that when she put the headphones on her head and she started to hear the Greek music from her past the transformation on her face was amazing - she became animated, laughed, cried and kept thanking Kate for doing this for her. Kate saved the music on a CD for the woman so she could play it in her room whenever she liked.
For Kate this epitomises the whole experience of undertaking the course - in her words it was '...the opportunity to give a lot which doesn't take a lot.....to be respectful in meaningful ways to make a difference as a student was a gift'. What she learnt has also impacted how she approaches her own health and that of her family - that it is important to be the master of your own health and be proactive not passive when it comes to dealing with health professionals.
Kate has applied to do Nursing and is now awaiting confirmation of a place - we wish her every success.