360’s Chronic Disease & Aged Care Manager and PHD candidate Dorika Nhongo will be presenting at the 51st Australian Association of Gerontology Conference in Melbourne on 22 November, 2018.
Dorika will be presenting the findings of her research in a presentation titled Leadership of Registered Nurses working after-hours in Residential Aged Care. Given Australia’s ageing population, with increased complexity and comorbidity, the workforce providing their care is of interest. This is particularly important with those individuals living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) who may be most vulnerable to care fluctuations.
Variations in care quality are increasingly being investigated ‘after-hours’, as this is a key time when there are reduced staffing levels, as well as reduced levels of supervision and support staff. Registered Nurses lead care in RACFs, providing expertise in caring for older people, managing risks and the resident health and safety. RNs utilise a combination of knowledge and experience to work independently and to lead and delegate care to unregulated healthcare workers and Enrolled Nurses (ENs), who then provide clinical and support care to residents. Yet, opportunities for further education and development of RN leadership are known to be limited and the actual confidence and competence of RN leadership skills in Australia is unknown.
Better quality of care, improved patient outcomes and reduced adverse events are associated with sound leadership. These results highlight the need for further developments in the field to respond to leadership needs of RNs in the support of resident health and safety. Registered nurse leaders require competence and confidence in leadership functions to drive and guide older persons’ care. Therefore, there is a need for research to be undertaken to explore the knowledge of RNs in leadership roles, particularly those working in aged care after-hours.