An opportunity to learn becomes a place to call home

Nurses MacKenzie O’Keefe and Cassandra Everitt joined Royal Freemasons Residential Aged Care to get a start in their careers, but what they didn’t expect was how much they would love the sector and relish the interactions they have with residents every single day. Now, years later, going to work each day still feels more like coming home.

At just 21 years of age and fresh out of university, Endorsed Enrolled Nurse (EEN) MacKenzie O’Keefe has been part of the Royal Freemasons Bendigo community for three years. During this time, she has built a strong foundation of practical experience and clinical knowledge that will set her up for life.

“I began working at Royal Freemasons Bendigo as a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) while I was studying nursing,” says MacKenzie. “I came straight here when I left school and threw myself in the deep end… Since my first day here, I’ve come so far.”

For Mackenzie, residential aged care is an environment rich with opportunities to learn about different medical conditions, “It definitely increases your knowledge because you deal with different people with a range of issues. In a hospital you might just be working on a renal ward, whereas in this type of environment, you get exposure to a whole range of conditions,” she says.

EEN MacKenzie O’Keefe

Mackenzie’s average day at Royal Freemasons Bendigo does not include many dull moments; she is busy from the get-go giving insulins and medications, dressing wounds, arranging admissions, helping with falls, and doing assessments.

The busyness of the role is one of the things she loves, “I like keeping busy and this is a very busy environment to work in. My days go so quickly.”

But what Mackenzie cherishes above all are the relationships she has forged with residents. “Once you get to know the residents you don’t think of working anywhere else. I think that’s why I’ve stuck to the role,” she says.

EEN Cassandra Everitt agrees, “I love the interaction that you have with the residents and the conversations you have with them.”

Like Mackenzie, Cassandra began working at Royal Freemasons to gain foundational experience in nursing. Twelve years later, she is still working at our Flora Hill home in Bendigo and loving it.

 “I just knew that I always wanted to be a nurse and because it’s a small town, getting into age care was probably the best way into nursing. Once I got into the aged care sector, I found that I loved it — and I still do,” says Cassandra.

EEN Cassandra Everitt

While Cassandra’s day is normally full of medication rounds, wound dressing and assessments, these daily tasks are also opportunities to connect with the residents, which for her is the icing on the cake. “Working with the residents is very rewarding, knowing that you are helping them. You become like family to them.”

If you would like to join the Royal Freemasons team and launch a rewarding career in aged care, please visit our careers page.

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