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Sandy’s Shift: From a New Zealand ED to Travel Nursing Down Under
Agency Nurses

Sandy’s Shift: From a New Zealand ED to Travel Nursing Down Under

My name’s Sandy and I started travel nursing when I joined HCA at the end of 2019 as I was finding it increasingly difficult to find funds for travel and mortgage commitments while having to work long and hard in a busy NZ ED. I seemed to have lost the passion I once had as the expectations mounted in the hospital I’ve been employed in since 1987.

I had been to a recruitment evening in New Zealand a couple of years earlier and really liked what I learned from that experience.

2 - Healthcare Australia
Mossman is a small town in Far North Queensland, Australia, located approximately 75 kilometers north of Cairns.


When did you start travel nursing with Healthcare Australia?

I was on a cruise in Australia in 2020 when the boarders shut with Covid so I made my mind up to stay and start travel nursing nursing. My first 12 week contract was in Ivanhoe, NSW in a Primary Health Care (PHC) facility, what an eye opener. At the time the population was approximately 180 but it also services a larger area of farmland. Working in Ivanhoe was a big change from the fast pace I was used to.

Travel Nursing Driving
One striking fact about its remoteness is that Ivanhoe is located roughly 800 kilometers west of Sydney, the state capital, and about 200 kilometers northeast of Mildura, Victoria. It’s in places such as these that the community truly leans on travel nursing to provide support to the permanent nursing team working here.


I’ve done several more NSW contracts, including Moore, two in Leeton, one in Balranald and one in Berrigan. All of these sites were inland so after working these facilities I wanted to venture into another state and leapt at the opportunity to be put forward for a contract in Mossman. Mossman is just a short drive away from Port Douglas and was my first coastal contract.

Travel Nursing Day Trip
One of the town’s most famous attractions is Mossman Gorge, part of the Daintree National Park.


Tell us a bit more about your time working in Mossman?

This is a truly beautiful part of the world, right on the doorstep of one of the oldest rainforests in the world – The Daintree. I did quite a bit of touring during my 12 weeks on contract. A few real highlights were The Kuranda Skyrail, Mossman Gorge and a snorkel trip to Lowe Isles.

Mossman is a busy ED that sees a-lot of tourists and services a wide area. We saw up to 60 people a day in ED. Some critical patients requiring resuscitation, stabilisation and transport out in the rescue chopper.

There is often a daily transfer to Cairns in the ambulance accompanied by a paramedia, the daily transfer was a duty shared by the RNs. The team in Mossman are excellent, very skilled and supportive. There is a large number of agency staff that support this site so easy to feel a comradeship. I’d be happy to go back for another contract.

5 - Healthcare Australia
Mossman also serves as a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia’s most cherished natural wonders.


Any tips to people who are new to Rural and Remote nursing?

To prepare for rural and remote nursing and travel nursing I have done a few online courses that I found very helpful.


Remote Emergency Care

Maternity Emergency Care


The maternity aspect of working remote is a little daunting as I’m not a midwife and there is not always a midwife on call.

1 - Healthcare Australia
The Kuranda Markets showcases local crafts, food, and produce.


What do you do while off contract back in New Zealand and what’s next?

When I’m back in NZ I work as a casual ED nurse in my hometown, which I find more enjoyable now.

I will continue to work R&R with a focus on doing a remote contract later this year to experience indigenous culture more in-depth and learn more about their disease burden.


— Sandy

HCA Travel Nurse RN


If you’re interested in being a travel nurse but aren’t sure where? Be sure to check out another blog about the WA and beyond we have published here.

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