USA student Christine is currently attending nursing school at the University of Tampa, Florida. With travel nursing as a goal, Christine asks a few questions about the possibility of nursing in Australia.
How much experience is required?
The more experience you have, they better you will be prepared for thinking on your feet as a foreign nurse in an unfamiliar hospital and country. In saying this, the minimum recommended for a General Medical/Surgical nurse is 12 months post qualification experience. For specialisations such as ICU, Paediatrics and Theatre, at least 2 years is required.
What are the pay rates?
This is a bit of a tricky one, and it’s not because it’s a secret of any sort – it’s because there are so many variables taken into consideration when determining pay. Factors that are taken into account include;
Location: Which Australian state? And are you going to be nursing in the country or city?
Experience: Pay increases as your nursing grade and experience does
Day: Weekends and public holidays may attract a higher rate of pay
Distance to work: In some instances you can be incentivised to accept a shift that is further than you usually travel, and can be paid a travel allowance
Overtime: If you work overtime, your pay will increase accordingly
Specialisation: Different specialities attract a different rate of pay
Are there any popular specialisations?
Specialisations in high demand vary from state to state, and from the city to country areas. In saying this, nurses with experience in ICU, CCU, theatre and midwifery will find opportunities quite easily, Australia-wide.
There is also a particular need for nurses of all specialties in rural locations across Australia. In rural areas, medical facilities are fewer and patients often have to travel to larger regional centres for specialist advice. This means that nurses who are able to provide general, multi-skilled care, who have a few areas of expertise, are particularly sought after.
Are there opportunities for Occupational Therapists, or other Allied Health occupations?
Yes, there is a range of opportunities in Australia available for Allied Health professionals from overseas. Job seekers have a choice of permanent, temporary and locum work in both rural and metropolitan areas.
Whilst, the job market is ever evolving, there is ongoing demand for specific allied health professionals, including Occupational Therapists, Pharmacists, Sonographers and Physiotherapists. Other allied health professionals will also have a range of opportunities throughout Australia – some professions will find greater job vacancies in rural areas, with others experiencing a pull towards the metropolitan areas.
All Allied Health professionals will have to register with their relevant regulatory authority before being able to legally practice.