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Taking Responsibility for My Own Happiness in My Life As a Nurse

Taking Responsibility for My Own Happiness in My Life As a Nurse

Welcome, welcome, welcome! You have no idea how pleased I am that you’re reading this post right now. It’s a little different than the rest of my posts and a little taster of what’s to come. Most of you know that aside from blogging, travelling and all the rest of it, I’m a Registered Children’s Nurse. I followed my desire to help sick children and their families through the hardest times of their lives. 

Now I want to help the nurses taking care of them. 

I’ve always thrived from helping others, it’s what I love doing. Even by writing my travel blog I’m offering advice about travelling, it’s through and through in my nature.

But what I’ve realised over the last twelve months is that I’m very good at looking after everyone else but not so much myself. I’m not embarrassed to say that at 25 I still had little knowledge of how to take care of myself until not so long ago.

Now I’m not talking about putting on a face mask and having a hot bath (although those are great things too) what I’m talking about here is getting to know myself, what lights up my life and sets my soul on fire. I came to realise that I wasn’t sure that I knew myself very well at all. 

Since starting my training to become a nurse somewhat seven years ago it’s been anything but a walk in the park. There have been some rocky roads taken and I almost completely gave up nursing on more than one occasion. I even jetted off to the other side of the world (read more about that here) in order to try and fall back in love with the career I worked my ass off to achieve! 

You’ve probably heard the saying ‘running away from your problems is a race you’ll never win’ and whilst I wasn’t particularly running away from anything my nursing woes certainly followed me to Australia. I remember the very moment that I knew something had to give. I was due to go to work and found myself uncontrollably crying at the sheer thought of going in. Like shoulder shuddering, squealing noises kind of crying. I honestly had no idea how it got to this point. 

It still took me a little while after that to do something about how I was feeling about nursing at that time but I knew that I couldn’t look after others well whilst I was feeling like this. 

Shortly after this moment, I made the momentous decision to go down the road of self-discovery and really try and focus on the root of the problem. I dove into all of the self-help books, listened to all of the podcasts, Ted Talks and even sought out help from a professional. 

It was during this quest that someone said something to me that really stuck and honestly changed my mindset forever and it’s this: 

“Blaming puts other people in charge of your happiness. 

Accepting responsibility empowers you to create your own” 

I don’t know what it was about these words but they changed my outlook on my life completely. I’d spent the last almost four years blaming so many external factors on my unhappiness at work instead of looking inside. 

Some things we nurses tend to blame for our unhappiness?

Working twelve-hour shifts, being underpaid, being overworked and understaffed, working in unsafe conditions, being exhausted from picking up extra shifts, being exhausted from switching from days to nights, being fed up of working around nurses who don’t pull their weight, feeling unhealthy due to lack of exercise which of course was due to bad shift patterns, not getting time off with my partner, being too exhausted to enjoy my days off, oh the list could seriously go on. 

These are just some of the reasons that I was blaming for my unhappiness as a nurse. But after a lot of hard work and home truths that, at first, left me feeling embarrassed and honestly feeling like an unworthy person I realised that to alter the external factors we first have to work on the internal. 

As a result of working on myself and my outlook on life, I’ve kind of come full circle. I’ve gone from being a pretty negative person to a much more positive one. Right now, I feel the most confident that I’ve ever felt, I feel the happiest at work I’ve ever felt and feel truly empowered to make any changes in my life that I feel are right and you know what? It feels absolutely fantastic! In fact, I’ve become a little bit obsessed with the power of positive thinking and the power of really getting to know myself. 

This is why I really want to channel everything that I’ve learnt and am still learning on this journey to help other unfulfilled nurses! I’m going to be busy creating brand new content and I’m so excited about this opportunity I have to help other nurses just like me! If you can’t wait to get started on changing your life then I highly recommend reading ‘You Are A Badass’ by Jen Sincero – it’s one of the many books that has seriously altered my thinking during this journey!

Nursing is a hard gig, there are challenges constantly from sickness to staffing. We care with huge hearts but it’s vital that we nurture our own if we’ve got any chance of sticking around in this profession. 

I’m going to be channelling so much of what I’ve learnt to reshape my own life to hopefully help you with yours!

Wish Me Luck!


PS. If you usually follow me for all of my travel content then don’t worry it’s not going anywhere I’ll still be writing about my musings on the road. After all, I might be a nurse by career but I’m so much more than that and travel is a huge part of my life. I wouldn’t be here writing this if it wasn’t for travelling! If you know a nurse who might benefit from some tips in taking better care of themselves then be sure to send them this post!

Taking Responsibility for our own happiness can be tough especially as nurses. There are many external factors working against us like inhumane shift patterns. I've been channeling my energy into creating a happier life both on the hospital floor and at home and funnily enough I had to start with the internal work to see how and what needed to change in my external environment. Take a look at this post to see what I'm going to be up to. #nursing #nursingselfcare #healthcare #happynurses #nursesinspirenurses
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New Zealand Nursing Registration for International Nurses

New Zealand Nursing Registration for International Nurses

Qualifying as a nurse was the proudest day of my life. As was the moment I stood in Manchester airport in 2018, waiting to take off to travel 10,000 miles to the other side of the world. Becoming a nurse and travelling to Australia were my two biggest milestones in my life and now that I’ve made both happen I’m making more and more of my dreams come true.

Australia was just the start of my travelling adventures and unbeknown to me it would only be the start of my travel nursing adventure too. A year later I’m now exploring the majestic island of New Zealand and of course, I’m keeping my career on track too.

You’ll know if you’ve been following my blog for a while then I’m a huge advocate for travelling whilst nursing at the same time! Before I took the plunge I thought it would be so hard to get registered in other countries. I thought the processes would be long and expensive. Whilst in some respects that is true, it’s all 100% worth it in my eyes! I create these posts about getting registered do help nurses like you feel a little reassured that whilst these processes can be daunting they really aren’t that bad!

In this particular post, I’m giving some insight into my experience of the New Zealand nursing registration for international nurses process.

Disclosure: Please note that this post is my personal experience only. This is not immigration advice. This information was correct at my time of application and may differ from the current requirements. This is simply the experience I had when applying for nursing registration in New Zealand. 

Why Register as a Nurse in New Zealand?

After travelling to Australia whilst nursing for a year I didn’t want to start travelling again and leave my career behind. Right now, I can’t imagine doing anything other than nursing so, I try to take it everywhere I can. Since the requirements are similar to the UK and Australia and they speak English in New Zealand I figured that I’d get my registration in New Zealand too. Getting my nursing registration in New Zealand was actually the simplest process I’ve ever been through when it comes to nursing. If you’re a fellow nurse reading this then you’ll know how much paperwork we often find ourselves filling out! 

Luckily getting my registration as an international nurse in New Zealand was straight forward. But that’s because I’m already registered with AHPRA in Australia. For my guide on getting registered with AHPRA as an international nurse check out this post. If you are registered as a nurse in Australia you can apply for registration in New Zealand via the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997. 

What is the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act for international nurses?

The Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Act is an agreement that the New Zealand Nursing Council have with AHPRA. If you’re registered as a nurse in Australia then you can become registered in New Zealand through this mutual agreement between the two countries. This agreement is for anyone who is registered in Australia not, just international nurses. Bear in mind that you have to be on active on the AHPRA register. So, you need to keep paying AHPRA registration for as long as you want to be a registered international nurse in New Zealand. In the rest of this post, I’m going to give some tips on applying for New Zealand Registration as an International Nurse via the Trans-Tasman agreement and applying for a work visa. 

Becoming a nurse in yet another country is so rewarding. Being able to care for people all over the world is a great blessing and in this post I share how you can too! Getting registered in different countries can be a nightmare with lots of paper work so here I've broken down all the tips you need to becoming a Registered Nursing in New Zealand | How to Become a Registered Nurse in New Zealand | #nursing #travelnurse #travelnursing #nursingnewzealand
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Before You Apply for New Zealand Nursing Registration as an International Nurse

Before applying for your registration in New Zealand is always good to do some research first. Nursing in New Zealand is different compared to Australia. Australia uses agency nurses a lot in most big cities. This allows nurses to have a lot of flexibility and seeing the country as well. In New Zealand, they don’t use agency nursing very much, not in the same way they do in Australia anyway. So its good to do some research on what jobs are available around New Zealand. It’s wise to do so before spending time and money to get registered. It’s also good to do some reading on the New Zealand Nursing Council website to ensure you meet the requirements of becoming a registered nurse in New Zealand. 

Here are some useful links to consider taking a look at before applying for registration: 

How to Apply for New Zealand Nursing Registration for International Nurses via The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 

To apply for New Zealand nursing registration as an international nurse you’ll need to create an account on the nursing council website. You can apply for the registration online which makes the process super quick. After completing the registration form the processing time for gaining registration in New Zealand via the Mutual Recognition is 5-10 working days. You’ll need to get some documents certifying before sending off the application form. The documents I needed to get certified were: 

  • Copy of Passport Certified
  • Certified Copy of Original Nursing Qualification – original nursing certificate from the university you attended.
  • Certified Copy of AHPRA Registration – it is acceptable to use the downloaded copy from AHPRA online. You’ll need to print it out to show the Justice of the Peace but you can show the original on your phone. 

These are the documents that I had to get certified as of August 2019. The documents differ depending on your application for example if you’ve changed your name. So make sure you go through the application form before getting anything certified. 

Once the documents are certified simply upload them online to the application form and send it off. It’s really simple and my registration only took 6 days to come back. 

Certifying Documents in New Zealand and Australia 

Getting documents certified in New Zealand and Australia is free, unlike the UK where it does cost. It cost me 70 GBP for six items certifying when I first applied for my AHPRA registration. You can Google the nearest Justice of the Peace or Notary of the Public for times closest to you. If you’re in Australia and want to start working in New Zealand as soon as you land then make sure you complete the application form in Australia.

How Much Does the New Zealand Nursing Registration for International Nurses Cost?

Nursing registration in New Zealand for international nurses does cost like everything else in life. The fee to apply for the registration through the Trans Tasman Recognition Act is a non-refundable $340. I don’t know if that means no refund if they don’t accept your registration application, you’ll have to some research into that. But if you’re registered in Australia there shouldn’t be a problem for you, hopefully. 

Annual Practising Certificate for International Nurses in New Zealand 

After your registrations as an international nurse has been approved, you’ll then need an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) in New Zealand to be able to practise. This is essentially like paying your registration fee every year in the UK or Australia. This keeps you on the registration for another year. It threw me off slightly after paying for the registration as I was unaware I’d need to do this as well. It’s really simple once your registration has been approved online you’ll be taken the page where you pay for your APC. For one year it cost me $137.50 and your renewal date will be the month that your birthday falls. 

So altogether the cost of registering in New Zealand as an international nurse for me was $477.50 or 239 GBP. It is expensive but it’s so rewarding to be able to travel the world whilst keeping a nursing career. New Zealand has been an easy country to transition to as a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse (NICU) as it is very similar to Australia. So far I haven’t noticed a big difference in any drugs or main practices. Australia and New Zealand work very closely together in terms of evidence-based practice.

After paying for the APC you should be able to nurse in New Zealand. The New Zealand Nursing Council may request some Certificates of Good Standing from other nursing bodies you’ve worked under. But it will be different for each individual application. As a UK and Australian registered nurse, I didn’t need to provide any extra documentation.

Applying for a Work Visa in New Zealand 

A question that I often get asked is if you need a visa before applying for nursing registration is if you need a visa first. I guess that’s entirely up to you. You don’t need to show proof of a current visa when applying for nursing registration via the Trans Tasman agreement but I think it’s always sensible to get a visa first. To be able to work in New Zealand you need a work visa. So there isn’t much point in applying for registration if you aren’t eligible to work in the country. The process of getting a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand is quite straight forward if you’re eligible. I can’t speak for any other work visas here in New Zealand as I’ve personally only applied for a Working Holiday Visa. 

I hope you enjoyed this post on applying for New Zealand nursing registration for international nurses and I really hope you found it helpful. It is relatively straight forward to apply via the Trans-Tasman agreement. If you are applying for registration straight to New Zealand then the process will be a lot more complex.

I’ve got a whole post on gaining AHPRA registration in Australia which you will find useful if you’re heading out to Australia first! I can’t recommend nursing in Australia more, the pay is great and opportunities are everywhere. I wrote a post on my experience of nursing in Australia here too which you might find helpful. 

If you did enjoy this post then I would so grateful if you could share it!

Becoming a nurse in yet another country is so rewarding. Being able to care for people all over the world is a great blessing and in this post I share how you can too! Getting registered in different countries can be a nightmare with lots of paper work so here I've broken down all the tips you need to becoming a Registered Nursing in New Zealand | How to Become a Registered Nurse in New Zealand | #nursing #travelnurse #travelnursingnewzealand #nursingnewzealand
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10 Ways to Guarantee More Shifts Agency Nursing in Australia

10 Ways to Guarantee More Shifts Agency Nursing in Australia


No matter where in the world you practise, agency nursing can be hard work. When it comes to agencies a lot of nurses join alongside their current role to earn a little extra money for a rainy day. But what about when you want to take on agency nursing full time? The flexibility to work when you want and freedom to have time off whenever you feel like it, sounds perfect doesn’t it? So why aren’t nursing doing it? Well, with no guarantee of actually getting work nurses often feel a lack of security. But, for the last year, I’ve been agency nursing full-time in Australia! And, though sometimes it has been a struggle the perks have astronomically outweighed the worries, for me anyway.

I came to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa with the priority being to travel this spectacular country. Of course, I couldn’t afford to spend a year in Australia without working. So, I figured joining a nursing agency would be the best way forward (I am already a registered nurse in the UK). I can choose my hours, take holidays when I want and only have to work what and when I want too. Whilst agency nursing in Australia has been amazing for me from start to finish there are a few strategies I have adopted when it comes to securing shifts. These aren’t ‘rules’ per-say when it comes to getting shifts as an agency nurse and everyone’s experience is different. But, by using these simple tips I’ve been able to work full time as an agency nurse in Australia for a whole year and it’s been blooming fantastic!

Disclaimer: This is my experience only and even if you implement these strategies it does not mean you’ll get shifts. This article also contains affiliate links where I receive a small commission if you purchase anything on this page – Thank You!

Healthcare Australia – An International Recruitment Agency for Agency Nursing in Australia

This isn’t a sponsored post but I wanted to mention the agency, Healthcare Australia. Healthcare Australia (HCA) is an international recruitment agency for nurses. This is the nursing agency I’ve worked for in Australia for the last year. HCA provides shifts all over Australia. I first heard about them when I was still In the UK where I attended a conference about nursing in Australia. You can register with HCA from the UK before arriving in Australia and before you have AHPRA registration. This I found this really helpful as the team at Healthcare Australia guided me through the AHPRA registration process.

What is AHPRA?

AHPRA stands for Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. It’s basically the equivalent to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the UK. You have to be registered with AHPRA before you can start agency nursing in Australia. 

For my detailed post on obtaining AHPRA Registration as an Overseas Nurse click here

HCA has been wonderful to work for from start to finish. This agency has provided me with shifts, reimbursed the cost of my flight to Australia and ensured I was given the opportunity to gain CPD hours. If you’re from the UK don’t forget about revalidation with the NMC back home, you can use these hours towards it! I honestly can’t fault Healthcare Australia. The system is so easy to use, you simply pop in when you are available to work via an online app and they will send you shifts. Even during quiet periods, I have managed to get shifts with Healthcare Australia but no matter what nursing agency in Australia you join these simple tips below may help get you more shifts!

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10 Ways to Guarantee More Shifts Agency Nursing in Australia

Be flexible

This is probably the most important and highly employable trait an agency nurse in Australia can have. Think about it, agency nurses are booked by a hospital or a facility when they are short staffed or require extra help. The facilities pay extra for agency nurses to work. My hourly rate was $53/hr in Queensland. The salary that agency nurses receive is high and the hospitals pay a lot of money on top of that to have you there. So naturally, some shifts may be booked by the agency last minute. A ward may get two nurses ring in sick at 3 am and therefore need some extra help for the day shift starting at 7 am. Or vice versa, nurses calling in sick or a patient requiring one on one care in the daytime may require help for the night shift.

If you refuse to be flexible and refuse last-minute shifts then you may struggle with agency nursing in Australia. The agencies try their best to let you know about shifts as early as possible but sometimes they just can’t. If you are willing and to taking on last-minute shifts then you’re going to get a lot more work than someone who isn’t. I’ve taken shifts at 5 am for a 7 am start before. Be flexible and it will stand you in great stead for getting full-time hours agency nursing in Australia.

Communicate with your Nursing Agency

Agency nursing in Australia is in demand. There are so many international nurses doing agency work and a lot of Australian nurses taking on agency work as well. With Healthcare Australia and every other agency, they will need to know your availability to work. With HCA you simply tick or cross which shifts you can work for that week. For other agencies, you may have to call to let them know. However, you need to communicate with the agency to keep your availabilities up to date. If you forget and don’t let them know you want to work, how will they know? Because the demand for agency nursing in Australia is high if you aren’t available the agency will find someone who is. So always keep your availability up to date!

I tend to do mine 3 weeks in advance and plan around it or sometimes I will say I’m available for every shift and then make myself unavailable when shifts start coming in. For example, I make myself available for every night shift one week then I get Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday night through, I will cross off the remainder of the week as unavailable.

Make Yourself Known to Managers and Ask for Block Bookings

When you are posted to a new ward as an agency nurse always introduce yourself to the team and the manager of that ward. I’ve learnt that being open and making yourself part of the team will always benefit. Managers like it when agency nurses introduce themselves and give them some insight into their experience. If you like the ward you’ve been posted to let the manager know. Ask them if they need any block bookings then you’d be happy to help. During my time agency nursing in Australia, I blocked booked on two wards, one for three months and one for five just by asking the manager if they needed it! Of course, sometimes this isn’t possible but it’s worth asking because a lot of the hospitals do it.

Why Take Block Bookings as an Agency Nurse?

As an agency nurse in Australia, I found that taking block bookings is awesome. You work with the same team all the time who get to know you and vice versa. Sometimes agency nurses will get the lightest workload or least complicated because the staff on the ward don’t know your capabilities. Basically the more you work somewhere the more the staff will ‘trust’ you. Working block bookings whilst agency nursing in Australia made me feel like I had a ‘home’ and part of a ‘team’ which for me is really important. It makes it easier learning how one ward works instead of ten – you can learn all their protocols and how they work because even in the same hospital the wards often work differently from one another.

Nursing Essentials in Australia 

Working agency in Australia often means a polo shirt uniform with no real pockets! My nursing belt organiser has been a lifesaver! Australian hospital also let you bring in your own head thermometer which is perfect when you don’t want to wake the kids! 

Agency Nurses – Please Answer the Phone!

This may sound silly but I think this is pretty important. There is nothing worse than an agency nurse sitting at the desk and ignoring the phone. Yes, the phone ringing can be a scary thing especially when you’ve just started working somewhere and only know the minimum about that ward or hospital but just answer it. The permanent nurses will be so grateful if you just answer the phone and then pass on a message or find someone who can help answer the caller’s query, Honestly, this is will give you huge brownie points!

Don’t Get Fussy Whilst Agency Nursing in Australia

This tip comes from personal experience. Although block booking on wards that you enjoy is awesome sometimes it can make you a little too comfortable. After block booking on two wards, I found myself feeling nervous and I’ll admit a little bit fussy when it came to taking shifts afterwards. My brain was going into overdrive wondering what ward I’ll be posted on and if it’ll be nice if people will be nice etc because I’d got so comfortable working with the same people on the same wards. One piece of advice, even if you block book is don’t become opposed to going to other areas or you simply won’t get booked. I never refused to go to another ward but I did wind myself up about it and had to give myself a strong talking to.

Hospital corridor with nurses stood to one side

Is it just me or do all hospital corridors look the same all over the world?

Be Open to Working in New Areas

This tip kind of ties in with the one above. Don’t be opposed to working in new areas whilst working for an agency. During my time agency nursing in Australia, I’ve worked in areas I’ve never stepped foot in before like, Paediatric Intensive Care. I’m not a PICU nurse but when intensive care that has patients that are ready for the ward there is no reason not to go and look after them. The thought of just being in ICU may be scary but it’s never as bad as it seems when you arrive. If you do find yourself in an area you don’t know then just ask any questions if you’re unsure about your patient. Do not come across cocky and overconfident as this will never ever bode well, no matter if you work agency or not.

Be Prepared to Go Where the Work Is Whilst Agency Nursing in Australia

Australia is one big country. Because Healthcare Australia covers the whole country they know which states have work. Be prepared to literally move state if you aren’t getting any work where you’re currently based. And don’t expect it to be the same everywhere. In Brisbane, I got tonnes of shifts at their children’s hospital. But, when we moved to Sydney I realised that their children’s hospital doesn’t even take agency nurses. So I had to attend the hospitals that had the work even if they weren’t my first choice. Luckily, I had never had to move states because of lack of work but I know some nurses have. Be prepared for anything as an agency nurse down under!

Keep Your Mandatory Training Up to Date

Whilst working as an agency nurse in Australia it is still the responsibility of the health practitioner to keep all mandatory training up to date. If you work with HCA they will send you alerts to the app when your training is running out. If you don’t keep your training up to date then you won’t be given shifts. The same goes for your visa and AHPRA renewal, as soon as these are out of date you won’t be able to work so keep on top of it all.

Image representing nursing in each different country all over the world

You really can nurse anywhere in the world..

Consider Rural Placements

Australia is one magnificent country and I don’t just mean because of it’s amazing scenery. Australia is huge in size with communities in every corner far and wide. If I have one regret during my time agency nursing in Australia it’s not taking the opportunity to try a rural placement. This basically means nursing in a remote part of the country. I’ve always considered it but it just didn’t happen. If you find yourself at a point where shifts are just not available why not try out somewhere completely different? HCA offer these placements regularly and what an amazing experience that would be! 

Find out more about rural placements with Healthcare Australia Here

Side Note:

If you’ve done or are thinking about doing a rural nursing placement in Australia then I would love to hear about it and maybe you can write about it on Alicia Overseas, just send me an email at [email protected]

So, agency nursing in Australia should you do it? YES. One million times yes. The best part about working through an agency is you get to decide when you work. I don’t know about you but I don’t know many permanent nursing jobs where you can choose your hours and just take off when you like! Of course, the disadvantages of working for an agency is that you don’t receive sick pay, maternity leave or annual leave pay. But you’ve got to decide where you are in your life and how ‘important’ these things are to you right now. For me, these factors were minimal and with the awesome salary for agency nurses in Australia you can save heaps making up for these small cons.

I believe it is 100% possible to work full time in Australia with an agency – I’ve just done it for a year. Remember,

  • Be Flexible whilst agency nursing in Australia
  • Communicate with the agency
  • Be open to different nursing fields including rural placements
  • Keep up to Date with training whilst agency nursing in Australia
  • Go where the work is
  • Introduce yourself and make yourself known (in a good way)!
  • And most important ANSWER THAT PHONE!

I hope you enjoyed these tips for getting more nursing shifts in Australia. Nursing in Australia is rewarding and I have learnt so much about myself, practise and the country too. If you did enjoy this post don’t forget to share it with your friends and have a look at some of my other posts about Nursing whilst you travel:

My Experience Nursing in Australia

Guide to AHPRA Registration for Overseas Nurses 

Working Holiday Visa for Nurses – the UK to Australia 

Happy and Healthy Travels






Australian Working Holiday Visa for Nurses – My Experience

Australian Working Holiday Visa for Nurses – My Experience

Please note that there may be some affiliate links in this post! This means if you buy or book anything through these links then I may receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you! Disclosure: This is NOT immigration advice this is a personal experience. The advice listed in this blog is advice I would’ve found helpful when looking to nurse in Australia, it is simply my own personal tips and may not be the same for what you are looking to achieve. 

‘How are you nursing in Australia? Are you nursing in Australia? You must’ve taken a gap year to be in Australia right?’  These are a few of the many questions I’ve been asked so far here in Australia. When you move abroad if you’re like me, chatty and nosy, then you’ll be talking to and meeting so many new people! When people who don’t know me find out I’m a nurse the questions come flying in! What baffles me the most is how most people think I’ve taken a career break from my job to travel to the land down under. But that’s far from the case, like a lot of people, I’m here on a Working Holiday Visa which allows me to work and travel in Australia.

Working Holiday Visa for Nurses, Australian Working Holiday Visa, Nursing Working Holiday Visa, Nursing in Australia

‘I wish I could do that, I’m a nurse how are you doing it’ The most common questions I’ve been asked by other nurses wanting to make a move to Australia, or anywhere for that matter. So I’ve decided to start incorporating a little bit of nursing into this blog mainly covering how I’m able to travel and work as a nurse!

In this post, I’m covering everything you need to know about getting a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) for Nurses! Where the process is pretty much exactly the same as any other person applying for a WHV there are some differences. And I’ll warn you now these differences come with a price! 

Working as a Nurse in Australia

Okay, so one of the biggies is the question. Can I work in Australia if I’m a nurse? The answer will have you jumping for joy because it’s, of course, a big fat YES! Australia, much like the UK, is crying out for nurses and there is plenty of work for us down under! However, there are some things to consider when you’re looking into whether or not you can nurse in Australia. The main issue is that if you have a diploma you can no longer practice as a nurse in Australia. The only way you’ll be able to obtain your nursing registration in Australia is if you have a degree or have topped up your diploma to degree level. This requirement has only been changed in the last few years and catches a lot of nurses out!

Working Holiday Visa for Nurses, Working Holiday Visa, Nursing Working Holiday Visa, Nursing in Australia

Imagine finishing work and walking past the Harbour Bridge as part of your commute…

Getting Your Australian Registration

Do I need to get an Australia registration to practice? Yep, you sure do! Much like the UK Australia also have their own nursing register and you need to be on it to be able to work here as a nurse. When applying to work in Australia this will be your biggest task and bug bare as a nurse! The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is the equivalent to the Nursing and Midwifery Council and these are the people who will decide whether or not to let you loose on the citizens of Australia. Now applying for this registration is time-consuming and expensive but I’ve written another post on AHPRA registration for overseas nurses here! Make sure you’re subscribed to my email list for other nursing tips!

Link to AHPRA – Bedtime reading – Make sure you read everything on this website before applying for your registration!

Working Holiday Visa for Nurses FACTS

Before you go head first into making your application I thought I’d clear up a few things that I wasn’t so clear on myself when I started looking into this process. So here are some WHV facts you’ll need to know before you get started!

  • How much does it cost? 257 GBP or 450 AUD
  • You will need a medical to nurse in Australia on a WHV
  • A medical will cost you anything from 300 – 600 GBP
  • If you wish to extend your visa to 2 years even as a nurse you must complete 88 Days of regional work
  • The current policy is that nursing in a regional area DOESN’T count towards the visa
  • The Australian Department of Immigration spot check people at the border to ensure they have $5000 AUD in their bank account. So be safe and make sure you’ve got it.
  • You must be 18-30 Years old
  • No dependants allowed on this visa ie. children or partners
  • The 6 months with one employer rule still applies to nurses so you can only work for 6 months at one hospital

The Working Holiday Visa Process

Working Holiday Visa for Nurses, Working Holiday Visa, Nursing in Australia, Australian Working Holiday Visa for Nurses

Or walking past the Opera House perhaps? I nearly cried when I saw this place!

Actually going through the process to obtain a working holiday visa is super easy! It’s literally a form on the Australian government website which you can find here! Simply follow the instructions and fill out the form. You’ll need your passport with you! Now you might be reading this thinking it’s pretty simple and why do you need this post? Well, you probably don’t but with whatever I do in life I love to see how people have gone about it before I do!

Most people applying for the WHV can fill out the form and forget about it but for us nurses the work isn’t over yet. On the form it will ask whether or not you intend to work in a health care setting obviously this answer will be yes. You will then be informed that you are required to attend a medical screening. Your visa will not be looked at until you have a medical.

Can I have the medical before applying for the visa? Nope. To go for a medical for the Australian Working Holiday Visa as a nurse you need to take a specific number with you when you go. When you book your medical you will be asked for the number stated on your application form (error can’t remember what the number is called but it’s pretty obvious). As far as medicals go they are quite easy but you must visit a specific immigration panel doctor. Meaning you can’t go to the GP for it and no you can’t get it on the NHS! Our medical cost us around 300-400 GBP here’s a list panel doctors in the UK where you can get a medical done:

  • Knightsbridge Doctors, London
  • Spire Little Aston Hospital, Sutton Coldfield
  • Medmigrations, Manchester
  • Bryden Medical, Glasgow
  • The Edinburgh Clinic, Edinburgh
  • Nuffield Health, Plymouth
  • The Bridge Clinic, Berkonshire
  • Spire Cardiff Hospital, Cardiff

You can take a look at this website which is updated by the Australian Government so you know you’re going to the right place.

‘Which way round should I apply, visa first or APRHA first?’

Another question I see asked a lot! Well, that totally depends on you and you’re situation. I did the visa first because when you get your letter in principal from APHRA you only have three months to enter the country. So I did the visa first so I knew I had it, once your working holiday visa is granted then you have one year to enter Australia. Working Holiday Visas usually come back within a couple of weeks if not sooner so you don’t often have that long to wait!

Once you’ve got your visa you are allowed to work and live in Australia for up to twelve months. If you wish to extend this then you must complete 88 days of regional work and, as I said above nursing doesn’t count, even if it’s in the middle of the outback! You can check the government website for what is classed as being suitable for your working holiday visa in the second year, they also have which postcodes you must and mustn’t work in.

Working Holiday Visa for Nurses, Nursing Visa, Australian Working Holiday Visa, Working Holiday Visa, Nurse in Australia

No matter where you nurse in Australia the beaches are never very far away…

Obviously, when you’ve applied for your visa you still have to a get job so your work isn’t quite over yet but trust me getting the visa and you’re Australian registration are the hard parts! Getting onto agencies over here is pretty easy and there is plenty to choose from! If an agency isn’t for you then I have known nurses who have landed six-month contracts with certain hospitals so it’s totally do-able!

I really hope this post has given you a slight insight into applying for a working holiday visa as a nurse! Even though it’s quite straightforward don’t let your non-nurse pals tell you it’s easy and inexpensive because for us guys it ain’t! The next nursing themed post I’m going to do is the AHPRA application process because I wish I had someone clearly tell me step by step what to do, which is exactly I’m going to do in my next post so keep your eyes peeled!

Top Tip: The Uniforms in Australia for agency nurses are mainly polo tops with no pockets! If you’re like me and from the UK then you’ll always have your pockets full! Nurses over here have bags that they put there stuff in a little like bum bags, you can take a look here!

Working Holiday Visa for Nurses

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Before you go don’t forget to think about your accommodation too! When you present to APHRA you’ll have to take proof of address here in Australia! You can use an Air BnB address or hostel! offer all hostels for some of the best prices!