Australia is the land of laidback culture, work-life balance, and weekend beach trips. It’s also a melting pot of varied cultures from different ends of the world, a place where every culture can find its little nook. There’s a reason that so many people come to Australia every year to work and Healthcare HQ talked to Faye, a registered nurse from the Philippines who has been working in Australia for the last two years.
Tell us a little bit about your career so far.
Five years ago I commenced my nursing career in the Philippines and specialised as an ED nurse prior to leaving for Australia. I initially set roots in Melbourne where I undertook a bridging course to transition toward nursing here in Australia. Upon successfully obtaining my AHPRA registration, I then started (with a student visa) as a CCU nurse at Wollongong Hospital. This opportunity was amazing and gave me the ability to consolidate both my experience back home together with the more contemporary education and hands-on experience here within the more advanced Australian Healthcare system.
I continued my journey as an agency nurse in both the Wollongong region and within Metro Sydney hospitals. During my time as an agency nurse I was introduced to Healthcare HQ and soon after decided to join their team. Angela saw my potential and soon enough I was offered a sponsorship position of which I promptly accepted. The rest is history as they say….
What’s your specialisation as a nurse now?
Initially I was allocated to a variety of hospital wards within the areas of medical, surgical, rehab and theatre recovery. I was also assigned to work within the aged care sector and it was within this environment where more recently I took on a block contract as a Clinical Coordinator. This was a fabulous experience which allowed me to step it up considerably and demonstrate my experience, knowledge and ability within a leadership capacity.
Explain to us what the experience has been like for you as a sponsored employee.
Transitioning from a student visa with restricted working rights with merely a casual employee status to that of a sponsored permanent employee has been refreshing and comforting. I’ve enjoyed having the ability to work full time and I can’t say that I don’t take pleasure in the perks of receive paid leave entitlements! On a more serious note though, having a permanent role has also given me the security that we all want in a job and takes the pressure off the finances and building further roots here in Australia.
I also feel part of a team. While I am contracted out to various shifts, Healthcare HQ do hold functions and fun events so that the permanent staff & other sponsored staff really feel part of the ‘larger’ family and are looked after. This is hugely important.
Do you think you’re going to stay in Australia for an extended period of time? Why Australia, of all places?
Yes, but probably not in Sydney for the long term. I do enjoy Sydney but perhaps not as much the crazy busy life that it brings. I’d like to explore somewhere regional but I am still yet to decide.
When I was in the Philippines, I heard that Australia is a place where you can achieve a work-life balance. Working with Healthcare HQ has most certainly helped me reach that work-life balance with their approach of allowing staff to nominate preferred shifts to work and flexibility with scheduling. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Sydney, meeting new people and really feeling part of a community. I do miss home & my family though.. that goes without saying but I know that my family are proud of my achievements, independence and strength throughout this life changing move.
How do the nurse working conditions and workplace cultures and expectations of staff differ between the Philippines and Australia?
While working in the Philippines, I was juggling a much larger volume of patients than here in Australia. This has certainly forced huge improvement in my time management skills which is a great thing. Australia’s work standards has enabled me to provide a better nursing care which is more in line with my passion as a nurse.
Are there any things that you don’t enjoy about working in an agency?
There’s just too much work to choose from sometimes! It’s not a bad thing but it can be a bit overwhelming. It feels a bit funny having too many options for where you want to work, especially when it’s very different in the Philippines. I guess one of the disadvantages is working in different settings where each facility has their own tailored policies & protocols to follow, not to mention paperwork and/or software systems! It certainly keeps agency nurses sharp and on our toes but I really don’t mind as firstly I like the challenge and secondly, once you’ve worked in that facility a few times, the shifts then become just that much more manageable and shifts run nice and smoothly. On a more positive note, I do enjoy the continuity of going back to the same workplaces and feeling like I’m an extended part of their team. Healthcare HQ allocate me to the same familiar workplaces as much as they can and they manage this well. I also appreciate that it benefits the patients & residents as well staff working with me also with less orientation & explanations needed.
Knowing what you do know now about working in Australia, is there anything you would tell your past self?
Be prepared for the challenges but enjoy this experience because it has been really great for me so far. I have almost nothing negative to say because it’s really great working in Australia and working with Healthcare HQ.