Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Spt-Oct 2015 Contents Wilma Sims
Director of Nursing (DON)
Wilma Sims says she has a
"love and passion for nursing
firstly and a strong focus on
As DON at Macleay Valley House,
Thompson Health Care, Wilma's
roles and responsibilities are
varied, balancing the demands of
both administrative and clinical
requirements. Sims has over 40
years' experience in nursing,
including emergency, intensive
care and the acute sector, prior to
her progression into aged care.
In that time Sims says she
has seen the growth of specialty
areas in the care of older
Australians, such as palliative
and end-of-life care and dementia care.
"This provides experienced nurses the
opportunity to focus on an area of care
and new grads or AINs, for example, the
opening to become an expert in an area of
interest," she says. "A significant difference
between the acute setting and aged care
is the opportunity to build authentic
relationships with people, to provide care as
a core delivery rather than just treating pain,
for example. Aged care is truly a holistic
approach - caring for the whole person."
Sims says she recognised the need for
ongoing learning when she entered the aged
Director of Nursing
Wilma Sims says
it's important to
encourage staff, no
matter their position,
to take up the
challenge of learning.
Growth of specialities in
care industry. "I recognised the
need to continue my education
specifically with regards to
dementia care. As a relatively new
disease, with no known cure and
the complexities of management,
ongoing learning is paramount."
In her efforts to continuously
inspire her team, Sim sources
learning and education
opportunities for staff. She
says advances in technology to
support learning are exciting.
"Technology has improved accessibility
and provides flexibility that was not
available when I started my career. You
must be open to learning and embrace
technology as a way to continue your
education," she says.
Sims believes there are many ways
of instilling a culture of learning in an
organisation, even a chat with colleagues
in the tearoom is a great start.
"I asked our cleaners at our facility would
they like to learn more about dementia.
With the rollout of MOOC, for example,
there are no financial, social or demographic
challenges for wanting to learn. Our cleaners
signed up. It is important to encourage and
instil confidence into your team, no matter
what their position, to take up the challenge
of learning," she says.
Sims says she has seen another shift
in education, which is the model of self-
directed learning. "We are fans of Aged
Care Channel and we provide our staff with
the option of DVDs and learning resources,
which is supported by our educators,
specifically if a skill or knowledge gap is
identified," she says.
It is important for leaders to
continuously highlght the opportunities for
learning that are available to them, she says.
"Formal education and training are now
only the beginning of the learning curve.
Each individual must continue to learn for
a lifetime, not only to remain effective but
also to continually improve," she says.
"When you find something you are
passionate about and you understand
where you are and where you want to go --
then learning becomes a pleasure."
Managing workplace challenges
A diploma of
Naylor the tools
within aged care. Cassandra Naylor has her
Director of Nursing to thank
for her completion of a
diploma in management.
Naylor, who is therapy
manager with Profke Aged Care Group,
was nominated by her DON for the
Frontline Care Solutions Diploma of
Management -- Aged Care Scholarship,
which she was lucky enough to win.
"I commenced the qualification
immediately and completed it in mid-
2014. After completing this qualification I
went on to fill a management role within
the same company at our Noosa nursing
centre site," says Naylor.
The diploma gave Naylor the tools and
information to effectively manage staff
within aged care. It specifically discussed
aged related issues that occur, current
staff strategies, and up-to-date information
about industry trends, she says.
50 | SEPTEMBER -- OCTOBER 2015 | AAA
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