Client role a perfect step on Regional Assessor’s road to saving lives

From the New South Wales Riverina to the Tweed and back again, Caitlin Smart’s road towards saving lives has become clearer through assisting others with Aspire4Life.

24.09.2020

Young woman in business attire with hair in a bun

Originally leaving her hometown of Wagga Wagga for a new environment further north, it was a Skype interview which landed her a liaison role with Aspire4Life, allowing her to assist others to remain in their homes.

Linking clients to My Aged Care Regional Assessment Services (RAS), Caitlin’s liaison role allowed her to be the conduit people seeking ways to maintain their independence and RAS.

However, in taking the next step in her career and returning home to Wagga Wagga after more than a year in the liaison role, Caitlin is no longer the conduit, but is instead on the frontline with RAS. Applying the critical skills, experiences and knowledge gained as a liaison, Caitlin, 27, is navigating her new role as an assessor, while she attends university in hopes of securing her dream of becoming a nurse.

“I’ve been a regional assessor for six months now; when I first started, I was doing face-to-face, but in the current climate it’s all by phone now, so I’ve had to adjust, and it’s been a great learning experience,” Caitlin said.

“My work as a liaison and just being able to learn the My Aged Care process has been a big help too and has definitely helped me transition to becoming an assessor. Through knowing the system and services, I’m able to speak confidently with clients about the process, so they can understand the help that’s available to them.”

Originally a personal trainer who has also worked in medical centres, Caitlin is no stranger to assisting others.

Into her first year of her degree, Caitlin is juggling her studies with part-time regional assessment, which sees her connect with clients across New South Wales’ Southern Highlands region.

No longer the liaison organising appointments but the assessor making recommendations after speaking with a client, Caitlin said she has learned a lot.

Perfect skills to also apply to her approach to nursing, Caitlin said being able to help others as an assessor had provided her with greater clinical knowledge.

“I’m really inspired to help people live holistically and take that holistic approach of being able to stay in their own while doing things for themselves, and I’ve definitely been learning more as I go,” Caitlin said.

“It’s been great learning on the job about the services available to clients and I’m getting a better understanding on how medical conditions can impact them, what has been helping them, and what can better help them to move forward.”

Improving clinically, Caitlin said being an assessor had also provided her with stronger personal skills.

“I assist people that might be needing help with transport, are no longer confident driving longer distances, like clients who need to drive over an hour one-way to see a specialist, or those who might have lost their confidence,” she said.

“They might be recovering from injury, had a fall, may not be able to clean and need domestic assistance as well as physio to get back on feet to build up that strength and endurance again.

“So, it’s also taught me patience in dealing with people as sometimes clients can feel vulnerable and scared, and unsure of how to deal with a medical condition or how to find their confidence.

“Clients can get emotional and I just let them speak and provide them with the time and space they need to be able to confidently express themselves and tell me everything.

“If getting a better understanding of what people are worried about, I can help them better, and that’s how I’m learning greater patience.”

While Caitlin is also learning more about herself in the role and discovering more areas of nursing and medicine that interests her, she has loved the opportunity to connect with people on a higher level to influence and help improve lives.

Navigating the shifting goalposts in 2020, Caitlin said she was looking forward to connecting with people face-to-face again, as she continues to grow personally and professionally.

“It’s been great to be able to be the one that can actually assist clients in taking the next step while providing the help they need,” Caitlin said.

“Seeing those outcomes and the satisfaction it brings for clients and being able to follow up with them to see how it went is always really rewarding too as they’re just so happy and grateful.”

For more on Aspire4Life and the opportunities we provide, visit our careers page here.