Working abroad is an option that UK nurses are increasingly pursuing as the opportunity to mix career development with new cultural experiences is an attractive proposition. Last year alone 4,393 nurses left Britain for jobs in Australia and New Zealand, double the number that went in 1995, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
One UK nurse who made the move is William 'Billy? Bentley who left his native Scotland with his family to emigrate to Melbourne, Australia in 2002. Billy has not looked back since and is now a Drugs and Alcohol Hospital Liaison Nurse at FrankstonHospital, situated an hour from Melbourne after being placed there by global health and social care recruiter, Beresford Blake Thomas (BBT).
On making the transition from the UK to Australia, Billy says, 'Working in an Australian hospital has been easy to adapt to as the medical system is very similar to ours in Britain. We have a good reputation for being reliable and hardworking and we are in demand as there is a shortage of nurses here, plus our training is highly regarded. '
Preparing to work abroad
Nursing abroad offers the chance to learn new skills and techniques plus the opportunity to experience a different lifestyle but it needs to be carefully planned. If you want to follow in Billy?s footsteps make sure you research moving to your new destination thoroughly, including everything from visas to sufficient funds.
Davina Bhatt from BBT?s Global office says, 'Try to speak to someone who has done it before as it really helps set your expectations. Apply early for a working visa, as you need to get your qualifications and registration forms verified in the UK and Australia, which can take quite a long time. The other essential tip is to keep a record of all correspondence, including calls and emails, made during your application. Finally, the most important thing is to make the most of your experience.?
Here are some more top tips:
Look into practical details on employment conditions, visas and work permits, income tax, NHS pensions, National Insurance, medical insurance and personal health abroad. Once you have a job offer you can go to the relevant High Commission to apply for your working visa, or speak to a recruitment consultant or migration specialist.
Funds before you go - on average you will be required to have £2000 in your bank account, however all applicants should make this enquiry with the relevant High Commission.
Registration - all countries, except the Middle East, require applicants to go through a registration process for people wanting to work abroad in health care. You need to look at the relevant Allied Health and Nurses website and download a registration form. Again speak to a recruitment consultant about this, they can direct you to the right website as it varies from country to country.
It is important to understand how the health sector in a country is organised. There may be different working practices for nurses, even in developed countries, so research is essential.
Learning the language of the country will be important as it will be difficult to practice safely without a good command of the host language if applicable.
Moving abroad is a big commitment so be sure this is what you want; research all aspects thoroughly so there are no surprises when you arrive.
BBT also places nurses across the UK and Ireland, the Middle East, Canada and the United States, New Zealand and Singapore.
For more information visit www.bbt.co.uk