Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2013 Contents "You can have
if you don't have
the resources to
you won't have
An ordained minister with the
Assembly of God church, Muslayah,
likes to devote time to pastoral work and
in late 2007 he returned to Mauritius
to undertake missionary work. "As
missionaries, my wife and I established
the nursing home there in Mauritius and
worked in that nursing home as directors."
There were already many nursing
homes in Mauritius but not to the
standard you would like to have, Muslayah
says. "The system over there is different
from here. It's not as regulated as it is
here. There is some regulation but very
minimal. Each proprietor is left to their
own devices. I think it's a bad thing. It
needs to be more regulated."
After three-and-a-half years,
Muslayah handed over the facility and
returned to Australia. The home is being
run by another Australian now and it's
thriving, he says.
His interest in ensuring high standards
leads to another, perhaps surprising
passion for Muslayah: accreditation. It's
another area of his career he is proud of.
"In Australia, wherever I've worked, I
have been able to achieve accreditation
for the facility. I was in Brimlea for
nearly 10 years as director of nursing
and achieving accreditation each time
As for lowlights, Muslayah says he
can't think of any. "To be honest, it's never
crossed my mind. I have great satisfaction
and great joy in doing what I'm doing. I
wouldn't change it for anything else," he
says. "Unless retirement," he adds with
a laugh but concedes that won't be for at
least 10 or 15 years.
Until then, Muslayah says he'd like get
back to a director of nursing position.
"Then further down the track, I'd like
to get involved with the accreditation
agency." He has already completed the
training program the Agency runs for
REWARDS OF NURSING
Although Muslayah always knew nursing
was in his future, he fell into aged care
nursing by default when he first came
to Australia. While working as a nursing
assistant at the Ritz Nursing Home in Leura,
NSW, Muslayah did a six-month practical
placement at the Blue Mountains District
Hospital, leading to his NSW registration.
Once registered, Muslayah stayed on
at the nursing home, where he made his
way to deputy director. At the same time
he completed a certificate in post basic
geriatric and rehabilitation nursing.
In 1989, the family moved to
Victoria. Here Muslayah worked in
acute care at Frankston Hospital while
completing a graduate diploma in nursing
rehabilitation and extended care at
Monash University. "In those days they
used to call it extended care instead of
aged care," he explains.
The further study got Muslayah
hooked on aged care. "As soon as I
finished my course I left the hospital and
went into aged care," Muslayah says. And
he's been there ever since.
"I find aged care more rewarding and
satisfying, especially when you're able to
give back to those people who have done
so much for the country, which we are
He says the best thing is being able to
put a smile on people's faces. "When they
leave their home, they leave everything
and they come with all sorts of emotional
issues. I am here to help them lead their
lives as normally as possible and bring
them a sort of joy everyday."
After the first graduate diploma,
Muslayah went on to complete a Graduate
Diploma in Advance Clinical Practice
(Nursing) from Victoria University of
Technology, then a graduate certificate
in nursing administration and a Master of
Health Administration, the latter two from
the University of New England.
Although Ram Muslayah loves working
in aged care, the sector faces challenges
across the board, he says. "It's the lack of
resources to do what you have to do. It
could be manpower or equipment."
A lack of resources is the biggest
hindrance to facilities maintaining
accreditation, Muslayah says. "You can
have wonderful policies and procedures
but if you don't have the resources to
implement them, you won't have any
effect. If you don't have resources, it's
very hard to meet standards."
Muslayah is careful with his
words, saying he doesn't want to
make a political statement, but he
says the government could do more
for aged care. "There could be more
opportunities, career paths, incentives
and motivation for people to get
involved in aged care," he says.
He acknowledges he chose aged
care at the expense of a higher income
because it is rewarding, but he knows
others don't. The heavy nature of the
work could be another deterrent, he says.
"If you've got things that can counteract
that, then I think people will think about
it and might join aged care."
At the training level, Muslayah says
a basic nursing degree is still too geared
towards acute care. While there is a
placement or two in a nursing home,
gerontology nursing really only features
strongly as a post graduate specialist
degree, which is not enough, he says.
"Right at the beginning in the basic
training, they should incorporate a
component of gerontology whereby if
students finish, they still have that choice
to go to aged care or hospital because
they have some training in aged care."
Teaching nursing homes would also
have a positive impact, he says, because
it allows hands on teaching. "They
already have got the theory. They need
the practice. The most important thing
that you need in the nursing home is the
practical side of the work." n
AAA: WHAT QUALITIES
DOES A NURSE NEED?
RM: You need a caring attitude,
compassion, patience and the
passion for it. You have to have
the passion, that's what will drive
you every morning to get out of
bed; the love of the job.
AAA: WHAT ADVICE
DO YOU HAVE FOR
AGED CARE NURSING?
RM: If you're just in for the
money or a job like any other
job, then don't embark on it. You
won't get the money. You cannot
compare it to people who do the
same amount of study who are
getting more in another field. You
need more than that to work in
aged care, not only aged care but
nursing as a whole. You need to
have the heart for it.
AAA: WHAT ADVICE
DO YOU HAVE FOR
PEOPLE WITH THE
RIGHT QUALITIES BUT
NOT THINKING ABOUT
AGED CARE NURSING?
RM: Don't waste these skills
on other things. Just get into it
because this is what we need
in aged care and in the nursing
AAA: DO YOU HAVE
RM: I like to read and do pastoral
care. I was already a minister in
Mauritius so that's something that
to play soccer, but I am past that
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