This month, we speak to Grant Howley, a mental health nurse from Manchester, about his experience nursing and travelling in Australia. From making his initial contact with HCA back in the UK to settling down in Sydney, here he explains why every nurse should consider making the move Down Under.
Why did you decide to make the move to Oz?
I’ve been qualified and working in the same place for 4 years so I wanted a change. Also, I’m 29 so I thought it would be a good opportunity to use the Working Holiday Visa!
How did you end up joining HCA as a nurse?
I spoke with HCA back in the UK, when I was looking for information about nursing in Australia. They were really helpful and supported me throughout the whole process of moving to the other side of the world! I got in touch with the local office when I arrived in Sydney with no real plan, just my backpack, my credit card and my passport and they helped me find work!
How have you found working with HCA?
It’s been great! You have the flexibility to pick and choose your shifts so you can go off travelling for a few weeks if you want to see more of the country. Or, if you are saving up for something, there’s always the opportunity to work more shifts. Plus, HCA has offices in all of the states so you can work and fund your travelling as you go.
How have HCA helped you build your life here?
They have been so supportive, right from the beginning when I was toying with the idea of moving to Australia, to being able to find me work throughout my time here. By working in lots of different facilities I feel like I have had a great all-round experience of what it’s like to be a nurse in Australia.
What do you like about the Aussie lifestyle?
I like how seriously Australians take their down time – I had no idea until I came here! Back at home, I was living from pay day to pay day so it was quite difficult to travel and do things with my friends. Now, I make sure I get the most out of my time off – there’s so much to see and do in Australia – everyone wants to get out and do stuff, which is great!
What nursing experience has stood out the most to you, since you’ve been here?
Whilst working with HCA, I had a 2 month placement as a community psychiatric nurse in a small country town called Bourke in the North of New South Wales. It gave me the opportunity to work with quite a large aboriginal population and I learnt a lot about the culture, the community there and how the health care needs differ to the other places I’ve worked in. It was professionally challenging but really interesting and certainly gave me a very different experience of Australia!
Would you recommend doing a rural placement?
Definitely! I would recommend it to any health care professional who is thinking of coming over or anyone who is already working here! It’s a great opportunity to get a very organic experience of Australia, not only as a traveller but also from a health care perspective. I’ve met so many cool people and there’s loads to do – I’ve had a great time! Do it!
See more from Grant in Healthcare Australia’s latest video ‘What’s it like nursing in Australia?’ at www.healthcareaustralia.com.au/nursing-in-australia 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.