A day in the life of an Aged Care Enrolled Nurse 

Fiona Combe

There are over 60,000 enrolled nurses in Australia who work in varied environments including public and private hospitals, primary health and aged care.

Enrolled nurses are critical in the provision of quality care and comfort to the elderly people who call an aged care facility home.

The role of an enrolled nurse (EN) in aged care is unique– residents form strong, long-term bonds with their nurses, who care for complex chronic and acute health conditions.

So what’s it really like? Meet Fiona. After 20 years working in aged care, Fiona is an expert in her field. Joining the SwanCare team in 2009 as a Person Centred Carer, she began studying a Diploma of Enrolled Nursing and has been supporting residents as an EN at SwanCare’s Kingia Care Facility since 2014.

“Within a hospital, EN’s can be quite focused on the medical basics which means medical observations take up the majority of your time. Hospitals can be ‘in and out’, but here, you really get to know the residents. It’s personal and there is a lot of warmth. We are working in their homes after all!

“Our approach to health in aged care is definitely more holistic. It’s not only about physical health, it’s about emotional and social wellbeing too. This holistic approach means you do so much more in your role as an EN at a place like SwanCare and it also means things get very busy!”


A day in the Life of an EN at SwanCare


“Each day shift begins at 7am and starts with reading the handover sheet and communication diary. This is so we can see any changes overnight.  I then allocate staff to where they’ll be working. In addition to the handover sheet, we also have a verbal handover to care staff so they’re aware of medical requests and changes. We like to make sure no stone is left unturned!

It’s then straight into the rest of the morning. I usually take a couple of hours to complete the medication round and administer insulin to our diabetic residents. After this, it can be a mix of anything - whether its neurological observations, tracheotomy assistance, assisting and encouraging feeding or contacting doctors for residents who require reviews.

In everything we do, we’re always sharing updates with one another. I think teamwork is definitely one of our strengths here at SwanCare. Care staff are always feeding back information regarding residents’ wellbeing and this is how we’re always making sure we provide high-quality care.”

“When midday comes around, our main job is to assist with dietary intake and to make sure our residents are swallowing correctly. I love being able to share this time with residents. They’re all individuals with incredible stories to tell. We have a secure dementia unit here at SwanCare which is one of my specialty areas. Dementia can be a challenging space to work in, but reflecting on those special moments where you’ve made people laugh or smile is really rewarding.”

 Fiona Combe

“While no two days are the same, the afternoon usually involves focusing on wound care and assisting the doctors who visit around 2pm. The afternoon is also when I spend time working through documentation and communicating with our residents’ families. I’ll often do care plan reviews and liaise with physios or other health professionals on everyone's needs. The last thing I do is a handover to the next shift and make sure everything from the day has been communicated clearly to the team and everyone is on the same page.”

In such a varied role, what does Fiona love most?

“I love that I’m constantly interacting and assessing residents throughout my shift and providing support - not only for residents, but for their families and our team. I enjoy supporting the elderly and helping them to have the best experience in their final years, months or days. They deserve the best possible care and it’s my pleasure to work with them and to work in their homes at SwanCare.”

Working in aged care will certainly keep you on your toes so that’s when it’s nice to be part of a professional community of like-minded people who live SwanCare’s values every day - and who always make room for laughter.

Like any role at SwanCare, the EN role requires skills, positivity and an outstanding work ethic. It’s a role which demands warmth and dedication but in return for this, we always recognise achievements and support our people with regular training and development to help them be the best they can be.

Explore a career with SwanCare

Are you an Enrolled Nurse looking to join a team where you can make your best work count? If you have the skills, positivity and work ethic to match our amazing team, join us today and be part of our story. View our current opportunities or express your interest in working with us in the future.

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