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Lizzie’s HCA International Nursing Journey: Britain to Darwin
Are you originally from Australia? If not, how do you find living here?
So, I’m not originally from Australia, I’m from Essex in the Southeast of England! I’ve been away from home since 2018, when I quit my job and booked a one-way ticket to Australia! I’d always wanted to travel, and lucky for me my best friend Tanya had also decided to head out here a few months before me, which was handy as I had a travel companion out here ready to go, as well as someone to give me the low down on life down under. We’ve travelled around Australia using pretty much every means possible!
We’ve travelled the East Coast in a camper van, flew into the ‘red centre’ and slept in swags just a stone’s throw away from Uluru. We travelled from South Australia all the way up to Exmouth with a rooftop tent (in the peak of summer… needless to say, it was hot!). We’ve worked as nurses in QLD, SA and the NT, dairy farm hands in VIC, apple pickers in QLD and even all-rounders at a wilderness resort in the Flinders Ranges, SA! It’s been the BEST experience!
How about the work side of things — Is working in Australia much different to back home?
Working as an international nurse in Australia has been challenging at times, but on the whole, a rewarding experience and one that I’m extremely grateful for! I’d only ever worked in England before I came to Australia and had never worked with an agency either, so to do that in a totally new country so that was a big change for me, however it’s been great as it’s offered me the flexibility to move around the country wherever the work is and explore as I go. We were extremely lucky to be able to make use of the COVID visa when the pandemic hit, as this allowed us to be able to stay in Australia and continue to work.
Does working in the NT bring equally unique challenges?
With such a unique facility, there are definitely unique challenges — the heat can be relentless. But policies and procedures in regard to heat management here are very well controlled and everyone looks out for each other. There’s also been known to be a few resident snakes hanging around, and as one helpful colleague told me when I started here ‘if it looks like a stick, it’s probably not a stick’.
Share with us — are there any other cool spots in Darwin you would like to share?
I would say to anyone considering working up here — do it! There are so many great people up here, from all different walks of life, that I’ve had the pleasure to meet and work alongside.
Not only is the work great, the Northern Territory and especially Darwin itself has so much to offer — you’ll never be stuck for things to do! There’s an abundance of bars and restaurants. Plus shopping, entertainment, and markets (the famous Mindil markets are starting at the end of May, which I’ve heard nothing but great things about!). The national parks such as Litchfield and Kakadu are not far away at all, and it’s a great idea to make the most of those on your days off and go exploring!
My favourite part of being in the NT so far is honestly having the experience to work here. I’ve met some great people whilst I’ve been here, and we’ve had so much fun working here and exploring Darwin and the surrounds on our days off!
I’m looking forward to exploring more of the surrounding National Parks soon now that the dry season is upon us, and I can hopefully swim with a bit more peace of mind now that the crocs are moving on!
What do you think is next for you — where would you want to go?
Next for me is to continue working here for a while longer and finish out my contract (which I’ve already extended!) and then after a week or so of exploring some more of the NT, I’ll hopefully be heading to New Zealand with Tanya. I’ll be sad to leave Australia behind, but I’ll definitely be back!
— Lizzie P