10 October 2022: The University of Canberra and University of Wollongong (UOW) have launched a new national alliance supporting nursing professionals who work with older people in Australia, and their families and carers.
GANA (Gerontological Alliance of Nurses Australia) was co-founded by Associate Professor of Gerontological Nursing at the University of Canberra, Dr Kasia Bail and Professor of Nursing at the University of Wollongong, Professor Victoria Traynor.
University of Canberra Chancellor Professor Tom Calma AO opened the online launch event.
Professor Calma was recently appointed to the Federal Government’s Aged Care Council of Elders and reflected on a personal experience with nursing professionals in the aged care sector.
“My mother passed just last year,” Professor Calma said. “The care she received at a nursing home in Darwin was phenomenal and a real credit to the sector.”
With around one quarter of all Australians predicted to be aged 65 years or over by 2050, Dr Bail says it’s important to recognise gerontology as a unique nursing specialty that makes a crucial contribution to the health and wellbeing of older people in Australia.
“Through the alliance, we will offer a forum that supports the professional development of gerontological nursing professionals,” Dr Bail said.
“Our mission is to build a community in which members share specialist knowledge and skills to support the delivery of high quality, evidence-based and holistic care to older Australians, both in hospital and aged care settings and at home.”
The alliance has set out a plan to achieve its mission through initiatives such as collaborating with like-minded organisations, providing mentoring opportunities for nurses specialising in gerontology, career pathways, and research and practice development to improve the quality of nursing care.
“Through these initiatives and more, we want to nurture the future generation of gerontological nurses and equip them with the skills and capacity to help meet the complex needs of older people,” Dr Bail said.
“It’s also vital that we ensure that the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse [CALD] populations – who currently make up the majority of the nursing workforce in aged care – are acknowledged and supported in the work we do.”
Professor Victoria Traynor says there is currently no other nursing association focused on promoting the health and wellbeing of older people and their family carers in Australia.
“GANA also builds on Gerontological Nursing Competencies, another UC-UOW collaborative project,” she said.
“The programme provides Registered Nurses with the opportunity be accredited as specialist gerontological nurses.”
GANA was formally launched off the back of the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons.
To find out more about GANA or to become a member, please go to: adhere.org.au/gana/