This post is a little late, because I just ended my tenure as a student. Still, it was such a fascinating time to be a student that I had to write it down.
I signed up for my Aged Care course like I planned. Initially, I was supposed to head to Barossa Valley to spend a month at a winery picking grapes and labelling wine bottles, but when I found out about the South Australian government’s Skills for All initiative, I cancelled it. I qualified for the scheme, so this meant that the government will pay for my course. Instead of paying $2,000, I only paid my college’s $260 registration fees (Padman Healthcare). Though, at some colleges you pay almost nothing. But I chose the college because I felt that as the company ran nursing homes, they’d ensure that the training given would be the best there is – especially since the organisation does take in some of its students as carers.
(Anyway, it is lucky that I applied then, because the slots for that benefit quickly dried up after two months!)
I chose to live near my college and found a place about a few kilometres from it. Some of my classmates, who manage to find accommodation that’s around $100 per week or so commented how expensive my place was (it’s about $150). But I save a lot on fuel (I don’t have a car) and transport because I either walk to college or cycle there. (I bought a cheap bike from Gumtree.) Plus, hello – unlimited high-speed Internet!
I mean, every morning I get to walk past houses like these:
And the weather in August was still chilly but not too chilly, and flowers were starting to bloom … it was lovely to be out around walking or cycling in Adelaide.
I underestimated how hectic college could be, however. Classes run from 9am to 4pm every day. There was endless amounts of assignments, and there was one time where I woke up at 6am to complete work that was due at 9am!
I found the Aged Care course very, very fascinating and my respect for nurses and nurses’ aides (or personal carers) are certainly much higher now. This is why I’m so surprised and dismayed that many cultures look down on personal carers.
The first thing people think of when it comes to becoming a personal carer is this: “Yuck! I have to handle urine and faecal matter?”
I admit that when we started studying about personal care, and when shown confronting videos of how we’d literally take care of people’s toilet and hygiene needs, I wilted inside – I wasn’t sure if I could do it. But as the classes went on, my respect for the profession grew and grew. A great personal carer will make a great difference to their clients or patients. They are at the frontline of healthcare and need great physical stamina and emotional strength to do what they do.
It’s a really honourable profession, and they deserve more than what they’re getting now. And I’m not just talking about the pay, which (for a full-time staff member) is around $18 per hour, but the regard society has for them.
I once read a book about shit (yes, literal shit) – how we dispose of them over the centuries, the people associated with the task – that said that the closer some people are to the task of disposing waste matter, the lower their prestige in society. Yet, the task of disposing waste is one of the greatest technological advances of civilisation because it has improved mankind’s welfare and health by leaps and bounds. YET, the people associated with such an important task gets no respect.
Life is shitty that way, isn’t it?