Dorcas Olaleye: Caring for the aged from Nigeria to Tasmania
Tasmania offered Dorcas the opportunity to pursue a career as a registered nurse in aged care. And she's loving it.
Dorcas Olaleye’s grandmother lived in her family home in Nigeria until she was almost 100 years old. Caring for her is what ultimately led Dorcas to pursue a nursing career that has now brought her to Tasmania.
Having cared for her grandmother for many years in a non-professional capacity, it seemed fitting to continue this as her vocation when she decided to take up nursing.
“I came from Nigeria for my studies when I was 17,” explains Dorcas. “My sister was already here so it was a softer landing in a way, but I still had many times where I missed home terribly. After my mother obtained a scholarship to do her PhD for a time in Australia, it paved our way. My parents have always encouraged us children to study abroad and are happy for us to make a life for ourselves here.”
Dorcas graduated from Edith Cowan University in Perth and began practicing as a registered nurse in Western Australia before accepting a role earlier this year in Tasmania at Snug Village, operated by Christian Homes Tasmania. The company provides residential care, retirement living and home care.
“I was looking for a much smaller aged care facility as I had worked in bigger environments back in Perth,” explains Dorcas. “It doesn’t allow the same opportunity to develop relationships with residents.”
“In aged care we can develop relationships that stretch over many years.”
The Tasmanian move also allowed Dorcas to continue living in Australia. There is a shortage of nurses across Tasmania so Christian Homes Tasmania sponsored her, thereby extending her visa.
Dorcas had very little time to arrange accommodation and settle into Tasmanian life before popping on the uniform for her first shift, but she found the ideal spot. “I found a place just two minutes’ walk from work with a lovely house mate.” Snug Village is about 20 minutes’ drive south of Hobart’s CBD.
Dorcas has since moved to a house with a beach nearby and is looking forward to exploring more of Tasmania as her nursing shifts allow. Working and living just outside Hobart has proven a great lifestyle choice, away from the city lights but close enough for convenience. She also travels each fortnight to Launceston where there is a strong Nigerian community.
Six months in, she’s now hoping to lure her other siblings to Tasmania. These days Dorcas’ mother lectures in chemistry and her father lectures in mechanical engineering back in Nigeria. Two of her siblings live in Western Australia; her sister is working as a nurse and her brother will soon graduate with a degree in civil engineering.
The family are due to reunite in Perth for her sister’s wedding, including her youngest brother who still lives in Nigeria. It will be the first time in years that the family are together, so a photo in their traditional clothing will mark the occasion.
“I’m really loving my new life here in Tasmania. Everyone has been so lovely,” says Dorcas, “Some of the residents have even taught me how to knit. It’s something I’d never done in Nigeria and now they’ve invited me to their knitting group so I attend on my days off. They’re very excited about the scarf I’m knitting to survive my first winter here!”
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