Meet Polly Frapwell, an intensive care nurse in paediatrics from Wiltshire, UK, who has been nursing and travelling around Australia. Find out more about her experience of nursing Down Under and how you could benefit from nursing in Australia with Healthcare Australia (HCA).
Why did you decide to make the move to Australia?
I really wanted to nurse and travel and everyone says how brilliant it is to live in Australia so I thought “Why not?”! When I told my friends and family that my friend and I were quitting our jobs in England and going to go for it they thought we were crazy, but it really paid off.
What is it that you like most about your lifestyle in Australia?
It’s just a much happier lifestyle. The sun is shining, you can go to the beach, and you have a nicer working environment – that’s the reality!
How have you found working with HCA as an agency nurse?
It’s been great! Agency work really suits my circumstances, the money is amazing and the hours are flexible – you can take the time off you want and work when you want as well. As HCA have offices all over Australia, you can just get in touch with them when you move somewhere new and they find you shifts relevant to what you want to do.
What sort of nursing placements have you been doing?
My friend and I are both intensive care nurses in paediatrics and we’ve always wanted to work in those units but travel as well. HCA were able to block book us when we were working in both Brisbane and Adelaide. We worked five nights a week – it was more like a full-time job but you get the benefits of being with an agency and we made loads of friends there too!
What do you think the job opportunities are like for nurses across Australia?
There are plenty of opportunities – we’ve never struggled for work! It is a good idea to have an open mind though – we always went to where the work is. When it’s gets hotter and there’s less work in Brisbane, we go down to Adelaide. In the winter we go where they need nurses, so we know that we can earn money when we’re there.
What nursing experience has stood out the most to you since you’ve been here?
From the moment I landed in Darwin, I knew I wanted to live in Australia, which is really strange as I’d never been here before. Darwin feels like a completely different place to the rest of Australia. As a nursing experience, it was very different to back home and that was quite a big shock at first, but it was a great experience working with the Indigenous people in the public hospital.
Is it something you would recommend to other nurses to come out to Australia?
Definitely! It was something I’d never done before, and whilst it was scary at times to be doing something so different, it was a brilliant experience and you learn so much! HCA have rural placements for anything from six weeks to three months or longer, so you can fit it into your plans and experience a side to Australia that you might not otherwise see.
Has working for an agency made it easier for you to travel?
Certainly – it’s been fantastic! You get time to do everything and see everything too. We worked for six to eight months to be able to fund our adventures and then spent about the same amount of time travelling – or until the money ran out! And then we started the cycle over again for the next trip!
What have been the highlights of your Australian adventure so far?
Skydiving in the Whitsundays is up there for sure! I think one of my favourite trips was the four-day boat trip in the Whitsundays, we went diving in the Great Barrier Reef, fed dolphins and saw some of the most beautiful beaches! I also really enjoyed driving the Great Ocean Road, spending New Year’s Eve in Sydney Harbour, seeing the crocodiles on the beach in Darwin, driving six hours from Perth to Exmouth and not seeing a single car – the list is endless! It’s been great just living the Australian life too – I love going to the beach and having a BBQ!
Do you plan to stay here in Australia?
Yes! My partner lives in Brisbane and I’m currently applying for my prospective marriage visa. I want to continue working here as an agency nurse – hopefully at the Lady Cilento Hospital, as I absolutely loved working there!
Discover more in HCA’s video ‘What’s it like nursing in Australia?’ at www.healthcareaustralia.com.au/nursing-inaustralia and find out how you could get a FREE FLIGHT* to Australia when you work for HCA! *Terms & conditions apply, see the HCA website for details.