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Why did you decide to apply for a job in Australia?

I had been interested in Australia for quite some time. I had learned about Australia and nursing in Australia from watching TV programmes and reading newspapers. The weather and the country's economy were points that supported the idea of relocating to Australia. I could see that nurses are much better off here - the working conditions, the pay, the family life - so for these reasons me and my family decided to apply for a jobs in Australia. My wife is a nurse as well, so we both applied for nursing jobs through Profco at the same time. We have three children as well, ages 17, 12 and 9.

How did you locate Profco?

After qualifying as a nurse in 2009, I was scanning through jobs abroad online. So I found Profco on the internet.

How did you find the application process?

I didn't find the application process difficult. It is time consuming and there is a lot of paperwork. But I got very good advice from Profco. I think that Profco made our application process much easier also in terms of the registration process as we got good advice on that as well. Profco told us how to write good CVs and what exactly is needed to include in the AHPRA registration application. I didn't really experience any problems during the application process. My wife who trained in Zimbabwe had some difficulty with obtaining some required paperwork from the local authorities, but it was all sorted out in the end. Profco always told us what to do and when to do it. All in all, I think Profco provided a fantastic service.

The process is quite expensive, but we were aware of this when we started it. We started the application process in the beginning of August and we were told that it will probably take about nine months. So as the process extends over quite a long period of time, the expenses are distributed over a longer stretch of time as well. We were aware of the costs that were coming up and therefore we were able to plan beforehand. Profco helped us with this planning and told us in advance about the different costs so we were prepared. My advice for others is to follow this guidance. The expenses don't hit you all at once, so you don't really feel it if you're prepared.

Support with all the paperwork?

There was a lot of paperwork. It isn't very hard to complete - it's actually rather easy to follow - but it takes a long time and you need to complete everything on time. It is a long process from registration to completing everything. Profco was very good, they were always only a phone call or email away. If I had any questions, I would always get an answer quickly.

Applying for the visa?

We travelled with a PR (Permanent Residency) visa. It was easy to apply for.

Then nerves and excitement: describe how you were feeling before you travelled?

We were quite excited, but at the same time it's always difficult going into unknown areas as you don't know what exactly to expect. We had of course read the stories of the nurses who had travelled to Australia through Profco on the website, which I think was very helpful and calming.

Then arriving in Australia - how was it?

We were quite aware of what to expect, so by the time we finally got to Sydney, it felt more like we'd be coming home than to an altogether foreign place. I had moved to a foreign country before when I moved from Zimbabwe to the UK, but I must say that the move to Australia was a lot easier. When myself and my wife moved to Britain, we didn't have anybody to help us or to advise us. When we moved to Australia, we had Profco helping us through the process and giving us much appreciated advice, which made our relocation much easier.

We arrived to Australia two weeks before starting our jobs. This was good time to get to know the area, complete our registrations with AHPRA and settle down in our new home.

Tell me about access to accommodation?

When we were looking for accommodation on the internet. My wife also searched for relocation assistance and came across this relocation service in Sydney. We contacted this company and they took us on as clients. We paid for the service and agreed that they will search out a suitable three bedroom accommodation for us. They came back to us with five properties to choose from - we were able to review the details of each and pick the one we preferred. After we chose our new home, we paid the deposit rent. So when we arrived in Sydney, we went to pick up the keys from the relocation agent and got to move into our new house straight away. It was actually very easy, no hassle at all.

Our home is located close to the hospital. Before we got our car, we walked to work and it would take about 30 minutes. The schools are also very close, both the primary and the secondary school are actually on the same street as our home. It will take the children about 5-10 minutes to walk there. This was one reason why we chose this particular accommodation.

Hospital orientation?

We had one orientation away from the ward for the first week and another one on the ward on the second week.

The job?

I'm working on an in-patient mental health unit. What I like about my unit compared to back in the UK (as I worked on a similar ward) is the much better nurse-patient ratio. In the UK we had 24 patients and here we have 28 patients. Here we always have six nurses on duty while in the UK it was two qualified members of staff, which was crazy.

My wife works on the Intensive Care unit. She says she's feeling much better about work. She actually looks forwards to going to work, as in the UK she complained about back pain and the like. Over here, she thinks that the nursing is well managed, it's a different system - nurses don't have to turn the patients like they did in the UK - it's all well organised. She is much happier in the ICU here than she was back in the UK.

It was very easy to fit in as a team player and I have made many friends here. The management of nurses is very different. It makes you want to come to work every day. You feel very valued as a nurse.

Difference in nurse practice from your country of origin?

It seems like nurses in Australia are well looked after and taken into consideration. The pay is better, you don't need to look for over time.

I gained good knowledge in the UK, especially as a mental health nurse. The nurse-patient ratio in the UK is of course pathetic, but the experience was good as the practical learning I received was of advanced level. I have found my UK experience very useful here. The UK is definitely ahead in mental health nursing. I think that the problem here is that they train general nurses for the mental health work, they don't have separate mental health nurses. On my ward there are only local general nurses and three or four fully qualified mental health nurses that have moved over here from the UK. They don't have mental health as one of the specialties the nurses can train for over here.

Training opportunities?

There are plenty of training opportunities here. Soon after I started work here, I talked to my manager and was told that after the initial period, three months or so, I can apply. You can participate in smaller training courses or you can even enroll for your master's degree. I feel like further education is more encouraged over here.

Salaries?

The salaries are better than in the UK. If you look at the salary you get in Australia and weigh it against the cost of living, I wouldn't say it's expensive, but I know people say the contrary. I suppose it has to do with your life style as well. With two nurses' salaries, we manage to live on one salary and save the other. This is something we couldn't do in the UK. Probably the only expensive thing in Sydney is the accommodation, but still with two nurses' salaries we don't even feel it. The rent costs about half my salary, which is because we got this place before we arrived. Now living here, we have learned that we could find a house in the same area for about 1 000 AUD less. I think that in the next three months we'll be moving out from here to a cheaper house.

Life in Australia & spending your free time?

There is plenty to do here. We have been eg. to the zoo and the Opera House. Then you can go to the beaches - you can go to the beach anytime, even if it's cold as it's never as cold as in the UK. The Australians are saying it's cold now as it's winter here, but compared to the UK it's really not - the winter here resembles the summer in the UK.

The Australians are very friendly. Comparing my move from Zimbabwe to the UK to the move over her, I would definitely say that the Australians are much more friendly and welcoming. I was quite shocked by their hospitality here. The people might stop you on the street just to talk to you. This never happened to me in the UK. One day when we were shopping and we were calling for a taxi, this old man heard us talking and offered to drive us home - just for a chat and without wanting any money in return. Even the kids are friendlier. Our own children have asked us why we didn't move to Australia earlier.

We're looking forward to doing a trip to Brisbane next school holiday in September when myself and my wife are able to take a few leave days as well. We are hoping to spend at least a week there.

Anything else you would like to add...?

Seize the opportunity and move to Australia! The environment is friendly. Your opinions as a nurse are considered and you feel valued. Your working time is very good and the working place is very friendly. I have a lot of positive things to say about the working life as a nurse here. Also the home life is very nice.

I think that Profco did a very good job and I felt I knew everything I needed to know coming here. Of course you have to see the new country and some of the things yourself, but I really felt that Profco did a good job in preparing us.

July 2012


Last updated: 19.07.2012

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