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Nursing Down under – A guide for US Nurses travelling to Australia
Overseas Nurses

Nursing Down under – A guide for US Nurses travelling to Australia

DISCLAIMER: Reading this article may cause you to spontaneously book a flight and travel to the land down under.

Chances are – you’re reading this article because you are a Nurse or Midwife who has chosen a career in the diverse and adaptable industry of healthcare.

On top of the great pay rates, countless opportunities and the ability to constantly learn new skills, you can live a life filled with travel and adventure, of which there are plenty to be had in the land down under.

If you’re looking for reasons like ‘cuddly koalas’ and ‘gnarly surf spots’ to twist your arm, this isn’t the article for you (I’d check out ‘7 reasons you need to go nursing in Australia’). This time we’re going to dig a little deeper and talk about ‘You’.

Yes, why ‘You’ in particular should join the adventure!

Why Australia is looking for US Nurses?

One word, adaptable. American Nurses are quite literally a ‘Jack of all Trades’.

Between the wide range of clinical caseloads, patient and population exposure, and the daily hospital bureaucracy, the Australian healthcare industry is very aware that your on-the-job training is A-Team quality.

Most importantly, while there are some logistical differences in the way the Aussie sector works, we are confident that your clinical skills are just as relevant in Australia as they are back home.

So…why come visit Australia?

Nursing from United States to Australia

Australia is a hot-spot for internationally qualified Nurses and offers a collaborative team environment and culture that extends from the city areas to the outback.

There are excellent support systems in place from region-to-region within the units and wards ranging from first-class clinical talent to professional development. The goal at Healthcare Australia is to offer our Nurses a safe working environment in a clinical area that is within your current scope of practice, whilst also allowing you to grow as a professional. Ultimately, we find that after a couple weeks of TLC, you will be well acclimatised to the Aussie healthcare sector.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that you are part of a big community of travelling Nurses! Not only will you have the full support of your International Consultant, but we will also be able to offer you opportunities to connect with other overseas Nurses, through our online networking groups and regular social activities. Like yourself, these ladies and gents are also on their way to work in Oz or currently rostered with HCA. Check out our Facebook Group

This is kind of a big deal, right? You’re moving to the other side of the world! That’s why we’ve compiled nine frequently asked questions from US Nurses looking to come to Australia to help you make up your mind.

Is there a minimum number of hours required when signing up with HCA? ‚ Rob

As a general rule, you will need to have worked in a full-time capacity for at least 12 months. This rounds off to about 1,976 hours. It is possible that you may not be able to work in certain hospitals, if you do not meet this criteria.

What is the likelihood of actually obtaining the 189 subclass Visa. – Daniel

We always encourage our International Nurses to seek a Qualified Immigration Consultant for any specific Q&A on Visa eligibility and requirements. With that in mind, most nursing scopes fall under a Skilled Shortage category and since the 189 Visa is points based, this will greatly increase your odds of receiving the Visa. Remember, another option is arriving under a sponsorship Visa. Opportunities to obtain Residency once you have already been physically working and living in Australia will also greatly improve your chances.

Do you help with accommodation? – Katie

For Agency Nursing, you will be responsible for organising your own accommodation. Two initial options are booking into a hostel for the first couple of weeks or AirBnB. Once you know your way around town, you will be in a better position to go find more permanent lodgings.

If you decide to work a Rural & Remote placement with us, most opportunities come with ‘free’, or heavily subsidised accommodation.

With a Working Holiday Visa, it says you can work no more than 6 months with one employer, would you be the employer or would the placements be the employer? – Katie

You can work the entire duration of your Working Holiday Visa with HCA. You just won’t be able to work for one hospital for more than 6 months. Our Consultants will monitor the shifts you are being placed, so you don’t ever exceed the quota.

What is the best order to get all the registration and visa stuff done? I don’t want anything to expire while other things are getting processed. ‚ Brian

Again, another great question.

1) Submit your completed AHPRA Application

2) Apply for your Working Holiday Visa

3) Submit your International Criminal History Check (ICHC)

4) Book your Tickets (Check out our FREE FLIGHT promotion for new Nurses)

**Helpful information: Your Registration will take about 3 or 5 months to process, your Visa will take about 6 to 8 weeks to process and the ICHC will expire 3 months after processing.

Once APHRA is granted how long have you got to start working in Australia? – Gavin

Your Approval in principle will require you to be physically in Australia within 3 months of issue date.

What is the salary like?- Kelly

Each state has its own Award system based on the Level/years of nursing experience you have. It’s important to bring your Statements of Service from the hospitals you have worked at so we can pay you exactly what you’re worth. Past that point, it really comes down to your availability and how many shifts you accept vs. decline. It’s safe to say, you’ll be making enough to work, travel and play!

What is the maximum hours you can work a week?- Gemma

The absolute, most important thing for us is the safety of our Nurses. We need to know you are practicing safely and have at least a full day of rest somewhere in your work week. 60 hours a week would be the cap for our RNs.

How many different hospitals would you roughly work in?- Ciara

It comes down to your preferred travel radius. If you are taking public transport and don’t want to be on the train for longer than 30 minutes, we will accommodate your preferences. The great thing about Agency is, you are in control of the when and where you nurse.

Start getting ‘Pumped’ about nursing down under!

There are three things that generally get Nurses super pumped to make this dream of nursing Down Under a reality.

1) Having a live chat with our Consultants about all the ins-and-outs of Aussie Nursing. Once you realise just how attainable this dream is, there’s no doubt that you’ll be wanting to get those bags packed ASAP.

2) The first google search on, Things to do in Australia. Ultimately, everyone is different. We have the outdoor- thrill seekers, the water babies, the shop-o-holics, the foodies, the roadies, the night owls- take your pick!

3) Knowing they can fly to Australia for FREE! Join HCA and work with us as an Agency Registered Nurse and you will get your flight to Australia* for free. Find out more about our FREE FLIGHT promotion for new Nurses.

Remember, the best part of being in Australia, IS BEING IN AUSTRALIA.

Get out there and live it!

Want to know more about nursing in Australia? Register your interest below and we’ll be in touch with all the information you need to know.


If you would like to discuss your Aged Care Learning needs and how the HCA LMS might match your organisational requirements, contact us today.

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