Efraim’s re­ward­ing move

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

When Efraim Fajardo moved to Aus­tralia from the Philip­pines six years ago, he hoped to de­velop his nurs­ing skills and see some of the coun­try.

A short-term job in Hor­sham turned into a long-term ad­ven­ture af­ter he fell in love – with a woman and aged care.

“I have a cousin in Mel­bourne who en­cour­aged me to come to Aus­tralia,” Mr Fajardo said.

“Hor­sham was just a ran­dom pick, to be hon­est. I didn’t have any friends here or fam­ily. But I met my wife here, which is a bonus.

“She was work­ing in aged care as well – I owe it all to aged care.”

Mr Fajardo’s wife Dairene now works in Wim­mera Base Hos­pi­tal’s day-pro­ce­dure unit, while he works in Sir Robert Men­zies Manor, which of­fers aged res­i­den­tial care.

Mr Fajardo worked as an in­ten­sive care and emer­gency de­part­ment nurse in the Philip­pines and only be­came in­ter­ested in aged care af­ter mov­ing to Aus­tralia.

“Back in the Philip­pines, aged care is not that fa­mous,” he said.

“We don’t have aged-care fa­cil­i­ties, un­like in Aus­tralia, be­cause in the Philip­pines we take care of our old peo­ple at home. It’s part of our cul­ture.

“When I got here, ev­ery­thing was new to me. I’m still learn­ing new things ev­ery day – that’s why I’m so in­ter­ested in aged care at this point of my ca­reer.”

Mr Fajardo has won recog­ni­tion for his thirst for knowl­edge and de­vel­op­ment, by Wim­mera Hos­pice Care Trust. Chair­man Bill Ower on Mon­day pre­sented Mr Fajardo with a trust schol­ar­ship.

Mr Ower said Mr Fajardo was the fourth aged-care nurse to win the bi­en­nial schol­ar­ship, which is de­signed to gain fur­ther knowl­edge into pal­lia­tive care de­vel­op­ments and in­crease skills to pro­vide ‘the best care pos­si­ble’ to pa­tients in the fi­nal stages of life.

“The schol­ar­ship will en­able Efraim to at­tend the 2018 Pal­lia­tive Care Nurs­ing Con­fer­ence in Bris­bane on May 20 and 21. It will cover travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion costs as well as costs as­so­ci­ated with the con­fer­ence it­self,” he said.

“We had three ap­pli­cants this year who were all of a high stan­dard.”

Mr Fajardo said he was thrilled to win the schol­ar­ship.

“It’s my first con­fer­ence and it’s quite nerve-wrack­ing, to be hon­est, but I’m ex­cited as well,” he said.

“I’m ex­pect­ing that I will learn upto-date skills and knowl­edge re­gard­ing pal­lia­tive care, which I can bring here for us to give qual­ity end-of-life care to our res­i­dents.”

Mr Fajardo said aged care, in­clud­ing pal­lia­tive care, was a re­ward­ing pro­fes­sion.

“It is dif­fi­cult for the nurse and also stress­ful for the fam­ily,” he said.

“I want to learn ways to give qual­ity end-of-life care – for the res­i­dents and their fam­i­lies as well.”

RE­WARD­ING: Hor­sham aged-care nurse Efraim Fajardo has won a Wim­mera Hos­pice Care Trust schol­ar­ship to at­tend a con­fer­ence to ad­vance his knowl­edge of pal­lia­tive care.

Pic­ture: PAUL CARRACHER

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