Bernard Nankivell has been confirmed as the new Chief Executive Officer of Southern Cross Care (Broken Hill) Ltd, after being acting CEO since June.
He has had a long association with the organisation dating back to 2011, is a respected local, has been a board member for the organisation and Chief Operating Officer too.
The organisation runs three residential care facilities and two retirement villages in Broken Hill, with an additional residential care facility in Irymple, near Mildura, where they also have the Vines retirement village which is the biggest in the regional hub.
Mr Nankivell said one of the key things he would like to see under his leadership is improved communications with the community, and more transparency between Southern Cross and the Broken Hill and Mildura communities.
“We are a local non-profit charitable organisation started by locals and we are still locally owned.
“Improving the communication, creating more involvement with the community so that we can encourage more volunteers, is important,” Mr Nankivell said.
“At the moment there would only be a handful of volunteers, the ones that we do have do an amazing job, but we would like to triple those numbers, we see that as essential to providing more contact, because it is extremely difficult for our workforce to spend the time that we want them to be spending with our residents.
“Volunteers are an important ingredient and Covid made a big dent in the numbers as people found it difficult to come out here, so we want to restart those visits.
“Its not just us, it’s the whole industry in the same situation, we all struggle with workforce numbers.
“We are working hard to improve the working environment as well, which is something we are putting a focus on.
“Recently we employed an educator so that our staff can get better training, better ongoing training and build pathways for our staff.
“It is a very rewarding industry to be in and I was talking at a carer the other day and she said she was ready to retire, she had over 30 years here, but wasn’t ready to pass on the care of ‘her’ people to somebody else.
“People that work in aged care are quite special people, extremely caring with strong values.
“One of the reasons I took the job is that I find the staff quite inspiring, they refuse to give in.
“It has been particularly difficult for them over the last few years with Covid, but they keep rising to the occasion,” Mr Nankivell said.