This article was first published by BBM Live, click here to read the original article.
This month we talk to Liam Caswell, from Edinburgh, who took the plunge and moved to Australia to nurse and travel. Here he discusses his time working with HCA at a state-of-the-art medical oncology centre in Sydney as an intensive care nurse as well as all the plus points of making the move Down Under.
What inspired you to come over to Australia?
I’ve always had a desire to move to Australia, I’ve always wanted to experience the lifestyle, take a back seat and enjoy travelling this wonderful country. My other half is also Australian so that also spurred me along!
Why did you decide to join an agency?
I heard about HCA agency nursing through a friend who had recently emigrated from Scotland. She told me HCA was very reliable, understanding of travellers’ circumstances and that there was always a shift that could be picked up! As she had only had positive experiences I thought I best join them!
What nursing experiences stand out the most to you, since you’ve been in Australia?
When I first arrived in Sydney, I did a lot of public work which I found really exciting. However, I’ve been lucky to secure a block booking at one of the private hospitals. It’s given me the opportunity to build on my own nursing experience and clinical skills, allowing me to become a competent practitioner within a different field that I had not experienced before.
What does a general day at the intensive care unit (ICU) look like?
I usually get to work around 7.15am, I tend to have a morning coffee with my colleagues and just chill before we start our usually hectic day! I assess my patients and take over from the night nurse, relieving them of their duties for the rest of the day whilst they sleep. We usually have a morning meeting with the doctors to devise a plan for the day for the patients and ourselves. Aside from the doctors I also work with pharmacists and the nursing unit manager. I do multi-disciplinary team walk rounds and also have to perform daily nursing tasks such as cannulation, basic nursing care, venipuncture and so on.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Working with an ICU is a challenge and we tend to have lots of different types of patients. I’ve
learnt so much working there and I’ve gained so many great new skills. I’ve been working as a team leader on the unit which is a new area for me. I manage the other nurses, make sure the day runs smoothly and that the patient care is the best it can be.
How have you found working in a new healthcare system and environment?
It’s been pretty easy fitting into the Australian healthcare system, a lot of it is very similar to the UK and I’ve not had any problems making friends or fitting in with the Australian nurses. Working on a block booking basis I’ve made quite a few friends through HCA and there is a great online network of people.
How do you find Australian culture?
Australia’s a fantastic place to live! The culture here, the work culture especially, is very laid back and very flexible. The people are lovely too, they are always willing to help and they are just very kind and polite. I’ve really enjoyed working and living here.
What is it that you like most about your lifestyle?
Being an agency nurse in Australia has allowed me to fund fantastic adventures whilst I have been living here. Being able to work and travel is a great advantage that nurses have when working with HCA. I tend to work a couple of weeks and then I have a couple of weeks holiday so I can tick other things off my bucket list. Since moving to Australia, I’ve spent a lot more time playing hard than working – the flexibility is really the key to being able to travel!
What was your most memorable experience?
Definitely flying into Sydney airport on the night that I arrived here – we flew in at around 10pm
and it was just beautiful. Flying in over the city, seeing the city lights, the harbour bridge all lit up and the opera house – I knew I had arrived in Sydney and was ready to start my adventure!
What advice would you give to other nurses thinking of moving to Australia?
I would say come – don’t wait any longer! It’s definitely a move that’s worthwhile, so give it a go – even if it is just a temporary stay for the one year on the working holiday visa. It’s a fantastic experience, the country’s beautiful, the people are lovely and the weather is so much better than the UK!
Do you plan to stay here in Australia?
YES! I’m going to stay forever and become a permanent resident!
To see more of Liam’s story and find out what it’s like nursing in Australia with HCA, watch the full video here.