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UK nurses start to shun overseas posts


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There has been a marked decrease in UK nurses applying to work in Australia and other English speaking countries, figures given exclusively to Nursing Times have shown.

The data, provided by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, shows that 1,978 UK nurses applied to work in Australia in 2010, based on verifications requested by the regulatory body’s Australian equivalent. This compares with 3,648 in 2009 and a peak of 6,329 in 2008.

Applications to the US also fell - 735 nurses were verified in 2010, compared with 1,238 in 2009, 1,567 in 2008 and 1,779 in 2007 - and New Zealand - 641 in 2010, compared with 1,241 in 2008.

Applications to the United Arab Emirates, which has become increasingly popular for all UK workers, rose slightly. But the numbers still remain small, with 32 nurses applying in 2010, compared with 20 in 2008.

Royal College of Nursing research and information officer Rachel McIlroy said the downward trend “came out of the blue”.

“The numbers had been going up and up. I would have thought it would have kept steady to Australia, as it has withstood the recession,” she said.

Stephanie Bradley, Australian Visa Bureau content and communications editor, said the trend could partly be attributed to English language testing introduced in July 2009.

She said: “Nurses are expected to sit an academic version of the test, and UK trained nurses could be finding it difficult to reach the required standard or are being put off by the idea of the test.”

Paul Arthur, director of the Emigration Group, a firm that specialises in sending nurses to Australia and New Zealand, said its enquiries from nurses had dropped. He said the reasons were more likely to be economic, as people tended to put “big plans on hold” during recessions.

He said: “It’s very clear that Australia wants nurses. I think the problems are more economic.

“People aren’t confident they can sell their homes or their businesses to realise their assets and, therefore, have capital to migrate.”


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Readers' comments (13)

  • i am still as eager to emigrate to is the process that puts nurses off with the new nursing registration that came into force last July. I have a job sponsorship waiting for me and should have started last year but because of AHPRA changing the goal posts and being inundated with conflicting information many have given up. I cant wait to be there for a better life for me and my family plus the nurse patient ratio and the better pay

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  • Anonymous | 1-Feb-2011 11:28 am, I am heading out there myself but I agree that the process is an absolute nightmare! They don't just change the goal posts, they change them every few months it seems! It will be worth it though when we get out there. Better pay, better working conditions (an actual Nurse/patient ratio for a start!), better lifestyle, better weather ......

    With Nursing pay, conditions and morale so low in this country I really don't know why anyone wants to stay if they have a choice.

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  • Mike, this is from one of your previous posts:
    "I have worked too long and too hard for my role to just give up, I would rather stay and try to fight to change things"

    Why does the word hypocrite spring to mind?

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  • Anonymous | 2-Feb-2011 3:53 pm, If you had read the context correctly, you would have read that as stay in the PROFESSION, not the country, as that what the previous posters were discussing. Idiot. I suggest you go away and try and fill whatever void is in your life that makes you want to follow me around on here and criticise.

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  • 'Idiot. I suggest you go away and try and fill whatever void is in your life that makes you want to follow me around on here and criticise'

    sounds like what Freud labelled Projection

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  • Nurses talk about bullying, lack of support, not being heard, bad work climate, the image problems, their uniforms, what the public think of them, etc. etc. - the list of complaints is endless. if nurses call other commentators names such as hypocrite and another responds with the idiot, on the pages of one of our professional journals this does not help any image or make give any of the readers a favourable impression. Everybody has to start with themselves and watch their language and treat others with respect even if their opinion is totally opposed to ours or appears idiotic to us. this applies not only to patients, but also to colleagues in the work place and other individuals commenting on websites as well. Of couse one can disagree but it is better to expain why. If you are so rude to others here you are probably not much better elsewhere and may not even be in the right profession.

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  • lots of good jobs in Europe with good conditions

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  • I desperately want to move outta here...I feel drained, not being heard, too many targets, politics and like others, too feel that the list is endless.I agree that there is a lot of documentation, exams(IELTS) needed to move to places like OZ but in the end, the cost of living and lifestyle is a bonus and would not cost you an arm or leg....unlike UK,perheps nurses would be more technically skilled than just performing basic nursing............I will definately give it a try..

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  • I worked in a clinic in Europe where we had flexitime. some of the shifts we worked were split shifts, with one continuous morning and one evening shift and permanent night staff so no nights. As it was medical, surgical and mental health rehab. most of our work was mornings and evenings and the patients had therapies during the day or were encouraged to go out in the village. If we wished to have an afternoon to go off skiing it was easily arranged with the flexitime system even for those who worked 100% (full time).

    Unfortunately nothing is all a bed of roses and the team I was sent to had been without anyone in charge for a whole year so there was no discipline and bullying was rife.

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  • continuation of above...

    bullying was rife from the Director of Nursing down which was known to the trade union who were powerless as it was a private clinic. However, the had 20 files from other nurses who had lodge complaints and had supported five nurses who had taken their case to the tribunal. As I was recruited for the UK I did not have access to local knowledge about these problems.

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