Aged care nurse cares for the woman who hired her 35 years ago

Shaz Hobbs, a Care Worker at Akooramak Care of Older Persons facility in Warwick, 139km southwest of Brisbane, loves her job.

And the 62-year-old gets to tell that to resident Maureen Gillespie, the woman who first employed her 35 years ago.

Maureen was the aged care home’s Director of Care from 1978 to 2002. She employed Sharon in 1998.

“We often talk about the good old days,” Sharon reminisced.


“(We talk about) when she was in charge … how things were different back then and she always tells me what a good girl I was, and we have a good laugh.”

Shaz juggles a four-days on, four-days off permanent part-time rotating roster in the McCullough wing and regularly helps to fill gaps when staff numbers are stretched.

In addition to her current 25- year stint as a Direct Care Worker with dementia and palliative care patients, Sharon also worked at Akooramak as a “domestic” in the kitchen and cleaning for nine years before taking time away from paid employment to raise her children.

“I love the oldies. I love my job. They are just great to look after. There are challenges but you just deal with it and get on with it,” she said.


Sharon is a key worker in a sector which is facing a shortage of at least 110,000 direct care workers within the next decade unless urgent action is taken to boost the workforce.

A recent Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA) report found that the shortage will balloon to more than 400,000 workers by 2050 unless dramatic action is taken.

The Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) has been working on solutions, according to CEO Tom Symondson said.

“That’s why we’ve been advocating for better access to education, improved access to housing for care staff particularly in rural areas, easier migration routes for overseas workers, and direct funding of targeted aged care workforce programs,” he said.


“We also need to show that aged care is a worthwhile and wonderful place to work – because it is.”

Shaz’s dedication has recently been acknowledged in the ACCPA “You Are ACE!” campaign which recognises excellence across residential aged care, home and community care, retirement living and seniors housing.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.