Written by: Melanie Wong
Australia. Our country is well known for its beaches, summer vibes and strange and dangerous creatures. But does this same stereotype apply to the experiences of those working here?
Australia has long been known as a multicultural country, and this diversity is most noticeable when Australians travel to other countries, where there may not be a Thai restaurant just around the corner or cheap and delicious Turkish pide next to your workplace. So what exactly do foreigners think of Australia?
Padraig is an Irish nurse who went to university in Liverpool, England and worked there for two years after he graduated from his degree. As a dialysis nurse working in palliative care, Padraig has been in Australia on a working holiday visa for 6 months and hopes to get his second-year visa. In an interview with Healthcare HQ, he talks about the ins and outs of being an Irish nurse in Australia.
Why do the Irish like living and working in Australia?
A lot of people move over here – people have friends here and the weather’s a big thing, because we don’t really get great weather back in Ireland. Some just really want to have a gap year or two.
Is it true that there is a great attraction due to the Aussie lifestyle/work balance?
Yes, definitely, it’s more chilled. You can enjoy your time off, there’s a better work and life balance and you can plan to do things like travel.
What are the benefits of working with a nursing agency, especially one like HHQ?
You get to pick and choose so that you can still plan and do things, you’re not contracted to a certain amount of hours so you can work then take off for as long as you want, so you can go on holidays or you can work hard to save up and then go away.
Are there any things that you don’t enjoy about working with an agency?
I suppose in the UK you’re working as part of a team, you’ve got your own job, you’re working with the same people every day, whereas here you’re always going to different places, working with different people. It’s both a benefit and a drawback.
How do nursing working conditions, workplace cultures & expectations of staff differ between Ireland and Australia?
I suppose they’re similar but different in the same way. There are different protocols here compared to back home – the way you do things. Back home, I think you’ve got more autonomy than over here, whereas here it’s more so the doctors just take care of everything – back home you can sort of do things on your own. Over here, it’s hard to get used to the medicines as well because they prescribe them as the brand name and not the medicine name. It’s quite hard because they can call them a couple of different things. That took a bit of time to get used to.
Knowing what you do now about working in Australia, is there anything you would tell your past self when you first thought about coming to Australia to work?
I think it’s quite hard to get settled in Australia, to get used to things, but once you get used to everything, it’s alright. I’ve been fortunate in that I chose an agency that are supportive of me and appreciate that those of us on working holiday visas are also here to enjoy the lifestyle. I guess I’m lucky in that regard that my agency is accommodating and allows me to pick and choose my preferred shifts also.