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Exciting careers for nurses who want to work abroad

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Nurses thinking of a move to Australia have the chance to work for a well-respected healthcare provider set up to offer compassionate care

The opportunity to work overseas is one of the benefits of being a nurse, and those trained in the UK and Ireland are highly regarded by healthcare providers across the world. Unsurprisingly, Australia is a popular destination. Its many similarities in both culture and healthcare provision mean British and Irish nurses find it easy to adapt to working there, while many are also attracted by its climate and the Australian lifestyle.

Australia is a fabulous place to live, and Queensland is just beautiful.Queensland car licence plates say ‘Living in paradise’, and it really is

Any nurses currently thinking about a move “down under” have some exciting opportunities with a long-established and well-respected healthcare provider to consider.

Mater Health Services is a not-forprofit healthcare provider based in south east Queensland. The company has seven hospitals in and around Brisbane. Between these facilities Mater cares for patients of all ages, dealing with all conditions and health needs. Four of its hospitals are private and provide care for patients funded by medical insurance, while the remaining three public hospitals care for those without insurance.

Mater Health Services can trace its history back to the 19th century, when a group of Sisters of Mercy nuns travelled from Ireland to Brisbane to work as teachers. Realising that healthcare was a more pressing problem the nuns decided they should train to become nurses instead.

They then raised money to fund their first hospital, which opened in 1906.Mater Mothers’ Hospital, which recently moved into a new $188 million facility, has just celebrated its 50th birthday. The fact that one in seven births in Brisbane now take place in the hospital is testament to its excellent reputation.

Mater Health Services is currently recruiting for a range of permanent nurse and midwife posts - for its mothers’ hospital and both its public and private children’s

hospitals and adult hospitals. “We are looking for a broad range of nurses,” explains Roisin Dunne, Director of Operations Neurosciences and Service Improvement Coach, Ambulatory and Outpatient Service. “These include both general and specialist nurses - particularly those with intensive care, neonatal intensive care, neuroscience or cardiac nursing skills - and midwives.” Ms Dunne says that while Mater is looking for experienced nurses, its first priority in recruitment is to find people with the right values and character.

“It is vital for us that our nurses can fit in with our organisation’s ethos, which is to treat people with dignity and respect. We can train people to help them to develop skills, but we can’t train them to share our values,” she says, pointing out that Mater is so keen to recruit the right individuals that it can offer support with relocation.

It is necessary to be registered to practise as a nurse or midwife in Australia before obtaining a visa. However, Ms Dunne says this is not difficult, and a range of visa options are available. As a major training centre Mater Health Services is committed to staff development, and offers real opportunities for career progression. In addition to its education centre the company ensures that a clinical educator is attached to each specialty to assist nurses in developing their skills. It will also support those with a passion for a particular specialty to develop the skills they need to work in it. In addition, all permanent nurses receive an annual professional development allowance, which they can use to fund courses and study days.

Of course, relocating so far from home is a major decision, but Ms Dunne is well placed to discuss the wisdom choosing Australia. She moved there from Ireland three years ago and now sees herself staying permanently.

“I love working at Mater Health Services,” she says. “It has a real family feel, and it puts the patients first - they are at the centre of everything we do. I like that ethos - it’s a wonderful place to work.”

However, Ms Dunne is equally enthusiastic about her adopted country. “Australia is a fabulous place to live, and Queensland is just beautiful.Queensland car licence plates say ‘Living in paradise’, and it really is. It’s a wonderful way of life. For months when we arrived my husband and I would wake up and say ‘oh wow, we live in Queensland’. I can’t imagine living anywhere else now, and our children settled in here so quickly too. We all love it.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I emigrated to NZ 8 years ago and love every minute of it. I work in a busy acute burns unit and staffing levels are high with no staff shortages like the NHS! very strict on ratios and beds are closed regardless! Life style is also great, so close to beaches and having a bbq on the beach on xmas day is an experience in its self!

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  • for those who want to stay nearer home, there are exciting opportunities for career development in Europe too. Working conditions and standards of living are often better than in the UK too, and if you like travelling around Europe with ease on their excellent transport systems, learning all the different languages and cultures, getting to know people with attitudes and values often very different from the British, and enjoying all the wonderful and diverse scenery and historic sites, the world is you oyster.

    I came for three months and so far have stayed over 30 years and have become part of the proverbial furniture, and having now gathered so many cobwebs have been granted citizenship as well so can come and go as I please.

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