Australia is facing a severe shortage of nurses, with about 11,000 more nurses needed to meet growing demands as the population ages.
According to the Committee for Economic Development in Australia, that shortage could blow out to 110,000 by 2030.
Ahmed Loze from Moruya is one of the region's newest nurses. He watched his grandmother rapidly deteriorate and require care from enrolled and registered nurses (ENs and RNs).
His grandmother's battle with Alzheimer's motivated Mr Loze to make a career shift from retail to nursing.
In 12 months, Mr Loze will complete his studies and become an RN, meaning he will fill a crucial vacancy on the South Coast.
"I remember, before nursing, my grandmother's condition changed quite dramatically, and it was just very overwhelming and I didn't know what to do," Mr Loze said.
He said Banksia Villages in Broulee encouraged him to dip his feet into the world of nursing.
"Banksia [Villages] encouraged me to give it a crack, to have a go.
"...It was very hard because I am not academically inclined at all, but I can make a connection with people which is what I really enjoy about the work."
Mr Loze completed work placements in hospitals in Dubbo, Bathurst and Liverpool before returning to Banksia Villages.
Today, Mr Loze works in the Banksia Lodge where he supports residents including Alice Vickery and Sylvia Spiller.
Ms Vickery nominated Mr Loze for an Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) You Are ACE award for his commitment and care.
RN Dino Rn and ENs Rebecca Hardy and Tash Wills were also nominated for the award which recognises excellence in retirement living, aged and community care.
"We have such wonderful nurses and carers here," Ms Vickery said.
"I am semi-independent, but I find whenever I need help, I only need to ask...I'm very proud of all the staff here."
ACCPA CEO Tom Symondson said more RNs are needed in aged care settings.
"We need to show RNs how rewarding a career in aged care can be," he said.
"We need to do everything we can to attract more RNs to care for older Australians. Providers are working hard to fill a massive shortage of RNs and to upskill staff where they can."
Mr Symondson said Mr Loze is just one example of a nurse who has made the switch to nursing and is working to become a much-needed RN.
Mr Loze said he had not considered a career in nursing before supporting his grandmother through her health journey.
"I thought I would be in retail forever, but I definitely would recommend [a career in aged care nursing]," he said.
"Banksia has really been good to me. They sat me down and showed me a pathway right through to RN and afterwards.
"People don't realise the extra value [of time]. It makes a big difference to their lives, that extra five minutes."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.