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More than just quick shower

aged care portrate Writer: Wendy Chen

Currently undertaking an internship in Japan
Worked as a health care assistant and registered nurse in Australia

My friend recently began working as a health care assistant in homes and at an aged care centre in Japan. As populations around the world are working towards Healthy Aging, it was insightful to hear about the situation in Japan. Health staff shortages are abundant in every country, but with the latest announcement that a portion of taxes received from October 2019 will be used towards health care assistants, I became reassured for my friend. After hearing about his work and working conditions, I began to reminisce the days when I too was a health care assistant in Australia.

Becoming a health care assistant

When I was 15, I wanted to be able to support my aging parents in the future. Soon after that thought, I said "Wouldn't it be rewarding if I could support everyone else too?". Thus, I decided pursue a career in nursing. At that time, some high schools had a program where you can study at TAFE (Technical and Further Education) and earn a certificate. Like fate, I was able to study to become a health care assistant whilst being a high school student.

I worked as a health care assistant while studying in university to become a registered nurse. I worked as a community health care assistant, where I would visit the clients’ home to provide care. Facing an ageing population, Australia is very welcomed to having care provided in home rather than an aged care center.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

My job wasn’t only to provide personal care, but to also report any issues in order to improve the way we work, but more importantly the clients’ lifestyle. Issues like “The client’s family is struggling to support the client”, “The client’s house also needs cleaning”, “There is not enough space and railings in the shower”, all get acted up on swiftly.



Australia treats health care assistant very well with high pay and safety first for the staff, as the legal implications are very high. Staff can sue the company for dangerous working environments and ask for high amounts of compensation for injuries. I am very grateful for the efforts taken to look after health care workers in Australia.

Source: PayScale


This experience increased my ability to becoming an all-rounder registered nurse. I was able to identify risks and hazards, develop communication skills and rapport, and most importantly, understand the patient as a whole. I had an understanding that patient care is not only about getting better at the hospital, it is about education and preventing disease, and consideration for their family and living circumstances at home.