Laura has been working at Nextt for the past two years and comes from a long line of carers. As a child, she spent nearly all her school holidays in the company of her paternal grandmother who worked as a Meals on Wheels volunteer. Her sugarcane farming parents also taught her the value of helping others and doing
… things out of the goodness of your own heart…it’s not a big deal, just what you do.
Maybe this explains why Laura graduated from university with a Master of Social Work. Perhaps she has always known that making a difference to another person’s life is one of the most rewarding things a person can do – and that’s something that she gets to do every time she does a shift for Nextt.
Laura enjoys helping clients clean their homes (in her home care role) just as much as helping them as a support worker.
I feel that your external environment does affect your inner well-being…if someone has a cluttered home or if it’s not clean, it can really affect how (they) are feeling. I find that people really perk up after their home has had a refresh.
As a highly skilled support worker, Laura works very hard to empower her clients to live their best lives.
Currently, Laura is working with several clients with acquired brain injuries. (ABI).* One of these clients is Michael^ and over time, she has developed a great working relationship with him which makes caring for him especially rewarding.
His brain injury was acquired at birth and his language skills are that of a toddler. At first, it was quite confronting to meet someone so profoundly disabled who wasn’t too far away from your own age…but then as I worked closer and closer (with) him…things changed. I’ve learnt his language, so we now have a sweet dynamic where I echo his noises and he gets a giggle out of someone responding to him like that. We have a nice familiarity with each other.
One of Laura’s other clients, Jennifer^ is also affected by an ABI which can sometimes impair the way she speaks. She suffers from episodic aphasia which means she will sometimes stop talking mid-sentence, unable to find the word she is looking for.
I asked her if she wanted help to find the word or
offer word suggestions or whether I should ask
questions. I found that (to be) a really important
This is not simply an example of Laura filling in the gaps, but using her expertise to best support her client. By removing some of her client’s frustration and building trust, Laura was able to help even more.
The more we worked together, the more I found
out what my client really wanted. We spoke about
what kind of activities she wanted to do in her
home and which professionals could help with
that. Sometimes it’s just about advising clients
how the process works. It’s been a learning
It’s this ongoing learning that is one of the things Laura loves most about her work.
Sometimes a simple conversation with another professional can be
transformational. Laura remembers a helpful meeting she had with a
neuropsychologist** which focused on how communications could be improved between a particular client and her support workers.
A lot of misbehavior was misconstrued as
deliberate rudeness. So, in an attempt to support
the client and support the workers, there was a big
conversation…it really helped.
Laura’s desire to make the most of every day and her positive, patient and
flexible attitude are just some of the reasons she is so valued at Nextt.
I get a lot of fulfillment out of this job…sometimes it feels a bit selfish.
I am very grateful to Nextt for the opportunity to have such incredible
experiences helping others live their best lives.
For more information about how we can help you start or built your career in healthcare, please visit our Careers Page or call us on 1300 369 568.
*Acquired brain injury (ABI) refers to any type of brain damage that occurs after birth. It can include damage sustained by infection, disease, lack of oxygen or a blow to the head.
^ Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
**A psychologist who specialises in understanding the relationship between the physical brain and behaviour.